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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 11, 2005

Jazz Stars Mehldau And Lovano Share Hancher March 1 Concert

Pianist Brad Mehldau and saxophonist Joe Lovano -- two of the most respected and influential artists in jazz -- will share top billing in a concert featuring their current ensembles at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

Mehldau will lead his trio -- famed for its series of "Art of the Trio" recordings -- and Lovano will front his Joe Lovano Nonet as the culmination of a two-day Year of the Arts and Humanities residency, "The Living Language of Bebop."

Lovano will begin the residency as the special guest on the "As Night Falls" jazz program, 7-9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, on UI radio station KSUI, 91.7 FM.

On Monday, Feb. 28, Lovano will:

-- lead a workshop/jam with jazz students from Coe and Cornell Colleges, Kirkwood Community College and Cedar Rapids high schools at 3:30 p.m. in Ballantyne Auditorium at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids; and (note: time change, previously listed as 1:30)

-- participate in a jam session at 9 p.m. at the Siren, 124 S. Dubuque St. in Iowa City.

The public is welcome at both events on Monday. The workshop at Kirkwood will be free, and there will be a $1 cover charge at the Siren.

Downbeat magazine characterized Lovano as "The man whom we believe to be at the top of the heap of modern tenor saxophonists".

He began playing sax as a child in Cleveland, under the tutelage of his father, tenor saxophonist Tony "Big T" Lovano. He attended the famed Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he met and began playing with future collaborators including John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Kenny Werner. In 1994 Joe was given the "Distinguished Alumni Award" from Berklee.

After playing with artists and ensembles including Lonnie Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, the Woody Herman Thundering Herd, the Mel Lewis Orchestra, Elvin Jones, Carla Bley, Lee Konitz, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian, he came to national attention playing with John Scofield's quartet.

Beginning in 1991 with his first engagement as a leader (at the Village Vanguard), Lovano has experimented with different ensembles that reflect his searching and dynamic personality -- from trios to big bands.

His 1994 release, "Tenor Legacy," which features tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, received wide critical acclaim, culminating in a Grammy nomination for "Best Jazz Small Group Recording" -- the first of many Grammy nominations. His 1996 album, "Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard" was named Jazz Album of the Year by readers of Downbeat Magazine, and his various albums have over the past several years placed consistently in the Top 10 in Downbeat, Musician and Jazz Times, culminating in his being given the top tenor saxophone award in the Jazz Times Readers Poll.

An All-Music Guide entry notes, "Active during a period of jazz history when it seems radical innovation is a thing of the past, Joe Lovano nevertheless coalesces various stylistic elements from disparate eras into a personal and forward-seeking style. While not an innovator in a macro-sense, Lovano has unquestionably charted his own path. His playing contains not an ounce of glibness, but possesses in abundance the sense of spontaneity that has always characterized the music's finest improvisers."

Lovano's latest recording is the just-released "I Have the Room Above Her," featuring his long-time collaborators Paul Motian and Bill Frisell. Last year's output included an acclaimed saxophone summit recording with David Liebman and Michael Brecker.

Mehldau is a leading light in a generation of young pianists following in the footsteps of the legendary Bill Evans, the master of elegant, introspective, classically-tinged playing. Though his training was primarily classical and he listened mostly to rock while growing up, Mehldau's interest in jazz began early. In addition to Evans, he cites influences ranging from Schubert, Beethoven and Schumann to Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett.

A review in the New Statesman of London observed, "From moment to moment his playing suggests nearly every part of the jazz tradition, as well as unsettling corners of twentieth century compositions, even rock," and a Stereophile review stated, "Brad Mehldau doesn't merely conceptualize -- he emotes with yearning melancholy and rapturous ecstasy. When he plays, embers glow, then burst into flame."

He studied jazz at New York's New School for Social Research under Fred Hersch, Junior Mance, Kenny Werner and Jimmy Cobb. Cobb soon hired him to play in his band, Cobb's Mob, and Mehldau also played and recorded with the Joshua Redman Quartet before forming his own trio in 1994 and recording his first album, "Introducing," in 1995.

"Art of the Trio, Vol. 1" followed in 1997, with the next two volumes in the series appearing over the following months. Two years later, Mehldau returned with "Elegiac Cycle," as well as "Art of the Trio 4: Back at the Vanguard." "Places" followed in 2000, consisting of all original compositions that each focused on a certain city. Another "Art of the Trio" album came in 2001, followed by "Largo," which documented Mehldau performing with groups outside of his usual trio format.

His latest releases are "Live in Toyko," featuring jazz takes on songs by Nick Drake and Radiohead, and "Anything Goes."

Among Mehldau's many awards are New Star of 1998 from the Swing Journal Disc Awards; Best Jazz Album of the Year 1998 from Jazzman magazine; Best Foreign Musician of the Year from France's D'Jango d'Or 98; #1 Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition Acoustic Jazz Piano in the 1997 and 1998 Downbeat Critics Polls; Best CD of 1997 from France's Academie du Jazz; a 1997 Grammy Nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo; 1997 UPI Top 10 in Jazz Album of the Year; Best New Artist of 1997 in the Jazz Times Readers Poll; and Debut Artist of the Year 1997 at the New York Jazz Awards.

The "Living Language of Bebop" residency is supported by the UI Year of the Arts and Humanities. The concert sponsors are Eta Burken, in memory of Paul David Burken; Dahl Ford of Davenport , Inc.; and Iowa House Hotel, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

UI President David Skorton's determination to increase public awareness and support of the rich tradition of arts and humanities on campus and throughout Iowa led him to declare academic year 2004-2005 the Year of Arts and Humanities, a time to celebrate that rich tradition and forge cultural linkages between the academic community and communities around the state. The Year of the Arts and Humanities is supported by the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-president for Research and the Graduate College.

Tickets for the March 1 concert are $35/33/30; UI student $31.50/15; senior citizen $31.50/29.70/27; youth $24.50/23.10/21.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: hancher-box-office@uiowa.edu.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu

PHOTOS are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher/media.html