Live sessions in the KPLU Performance Studio are always fun, but when saxophonist Joe Lovano stopped by with his group Us Five, it was more than fun. It was also an honor. New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff put it succinctly: "It's fair to say that [Lovano is] one of the greatest musicians in jazz history."
Usually in our studio sessions, we begin with a song from the visiting artist, chat for a moment, hear another song, chat again and hear another song — and that's that. Lovano, though, wanted to go about it a bit differently. He gave a few introductory remarks and then performed an uninterrupted four-song mini-set of Charlie Parker compositions (reflecting the content of his current tour and his latest CD, Bird Songs). So here they are: Joe Lovano and Us Five, with James Weidman (piano), Peter Slavov (bass), Otis Brown III (drums) and Francisco Mela (drums). With Us Five, Bird lives and soars to new heights.