Saxophonist Joe Lovano, called "one of the most commanding and acclaimed saxophonists of his generation" by the Washington Post, was also named Jazz Artist of the Year in 1995 and 1996 in Downbeat magazine's critics' and readers' polls, winner of the "Album of the Year" award in Downbeat's 1995 and 1996 polls, and a Grammy nominee in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Lovano was also honored as Jazz Report magazine's "International Artist of the Year" in 1995.
Lovano attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he received the "Distinguished Alumni Award" in 1994. After Berklee he moved to New York, and eventually joined up with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd, playing in that group's 40th-anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall, which also featured Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Flip Phillips and Al Cohn.
Over the years, Lovano has played with the Mel Lewis Orchestra in its regular Monday-night concerts at the Village Vanguard, with drummer Paul Motion's band and with the John Scofield Quartet, as well as with jazz greats Elvin Jones, Carla Bley, Lee Konitz, Charlie Haden and Bob Brookmeyer.
Lovano's albums include Universal Language, Tenor Legacy, Rush Hour (which garnered the Downbeat critics' and readers' awards), Joe Lovano Quartets at the Village Vanguard (another Downbeat winner) and Joe Lovano Celebrating Sinatra.
In a glowing review of Lovano's work and career, Village Voice writer Will Friedwall cautioned one of Lovano's musical colleagues, "Move over, Pavarotti; the greatest Italian tenor around today isn't Luciano, but Lovano."