Jazz Saxophonist Joe Lovano Kicks Off Jazz Room Series on March 3

Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, composer, and producer Joe Lovano, one of today’s premiere saxophone voices, joins the William Paterson University Jazz Orchestra on Sunday, March 3, in the opening concert of William Paterson’s spring 2024 Jazz Room series. The concert begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Shea Center for Performing Arts on campus.

The Jazz Room, William Paterson University’s long-running performance series, will feature a wide variety of today’s most exciting jazz musicians during the spring 2024 season. Upcoming performances include the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on March 14; saxophonist Alexa Tarantino on April 7; trumpeter Peter Nater with the WP Latin Jazz Ensemble on April 14; a Wingspan reunion concert on April 28; and the Martin Wind All-Star Quartet with Scott Robinson, Jim McNeely, and Matt Wilson on May 5.

Lovano will perform with the William Paterson University Jazz Orchestra directed by David Demsey, William Paterson music professor and jazz studies coordinator. The orchestra is one of two dozen jazz ensembles that form the core of the University’s Jazz Studies Program, which is headed by internationally acclaimed pianist Bill Charlap, director of jazz studies. Jazz studies students come to William Paterson from all parts of the United States and all corners of the world.

The concert will be preceded by “Sittin’ In,” the Jazz Room’s accompanying “meet the artist” concert preview featuring interviews with jazz artists and guest speakers. This informal discussion, free to all Jazz Room ticketholders, begins at 2:00 p.m. in the Shea Recital Hall.

Lovano has a deep connection to William Paterson as a former faculty member and longtime guest artist. His earlier career involved significant periods with the big bands led by Woody Herman and Mel Lewis, which will both serve as inspirations for this concert’s set list. The performance will feature arrangements chosen by him for this occasion, as well as premiere performances of three big band arrangements of Lovano’s compositions created by arrangers from William Paterson’s master of music program in arranging.

Winner of the Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble for his album 52nd Street Themes and the recipient of 14 Grammy nominations, he has won DownBeat Magazine ’s Critics and Readers Polls countless times as Tenor Saxophonist, Musician of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year, and Triple Crowns from DownBeat. He has also received numerous awards from Jazz Times and the Jazz Journalists Association for Tenor Saxophone, Album of the Year, and Musician of the Year.

Lovano has performed and recorded with a long list of jazz greats including Woody Herman, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Mel Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Tony Bennett, Abbey Lincoln, Charlie Haden, John Scofield, Gunther Schuller, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Ed Blackwell, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Hank Jones, Dave Liebman, Michael Brecker, Dave Douglas, Judi Silvano, Ravi Coltrane, Chucho Valdés, Ornette Coleman, Diana Krall, and many others. He has created an extensive body of work for his own ensembles including strings, woodwinds, his horn-rich Nonet, the Classic Quartet, Trio Tapestry, and more.

From 1991 through 2016, Lovano released an unprecedented 25 records as a leader for the historic Blue Note Records. Joe Lovano Quartet: Classic! Live at Newport featuring Hank Jones was recorded in 2005 and released in 2016 to critical acclaim. In 2019, Lovano released his debut album as a bandleader on ECM Records, Trio Tapestry, with Marilyn Crispell and Carmen Castaldi. His most recent recordings include Other Worlds, his third album with Sound Prints, a quintet he co-leads with trumpeter Dave Douglas; Once Around the Room: A Tribute to Paul Motian, a collaboration with guitarist Jakob Bro; and Our Daily Bread with Trio Tapestry.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Lovano attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he he has held the Gary Burton Chair in Jazz Performance since 2001 and is a founding faculty member since 2009 of the Global Jazz Institute at Berklee directed by Danilo Pérez.

Tickets are $15 for the general public, $12 for WP faculty, staff, alumni, and senior citizens, $8 for non-WP students, and WP students are admitted free. Tickets are an additional $5 if purchased on show day. For tickets or additional information, visit wp-presents.org, or contact the Shea Center Box Office at 973.720.2371 or boxoffice@wpunj.edu.

William Paterson University’s Jazz Room series is the longest-running program of its kind in the United States. Launched in 1978, the Jazz Room has welcomed more than 500 jazz legends to the stage, including Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Joe Williams, Marian McPartland, Slide Hampton, Kenny Burrell, Joe Lovano, Kenny Garrett, Clark Terry, Michael and Randy Brecker, the Vanguard Orchestra, and more. Concerts have encompassed the entire spectrum of jazz, from early jazz and swing to avant garde, and from intimate solo performances to big bands.

The performance series provides support for the University’s internationally renowned Jazz Studies Program, founded in 1973, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The program draws students from across the United States and abroad under the current direction of Grammy Award-winning pianist Bill Charlap.

The Jazz Room at William Paterson University has been made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.