JazzFest History

Joe Lovano

Awarded: 2013
Born: Cleveland, Ohio

"If you can tell your personal story as you develop as a musician, that's what jazz is all about."

- Joe Lovano


Grammy Award winner, consistent honoree in DownBeat and JazzTimes readers' polls and one of the world's premiere tenor saxophonists, Joe Lovano has literally spent his life surrounded by music. His father, Tony, a barber by day and "Big T" the tenor sax player by night, plus brothers on sax and trumpet provided the musical influence. Credit also goes to Lovano's mom, Josephine, for providing a critical ear. He was playing alto sax at age five and earned his Musician's Union card before his driver's license. A 1971 graduate of Euclid High School and Berklee College of Music, Lovano soon joined the Mel Lewis Orchestra. He is known for his sound and ability to take audiences through standards, blues and the avant-garde. He has created cutting-edge work with Paul Motian, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield, Michael Brecker and Dave Liebman, among others.