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Joe Lovano: Viva Caruso

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Barnes & Noble - Ted Panken
Celebrating Sinatra's set of Manny Albam arrangements ruminated on a constant musical presence in the soundtrack of Lovano's youth. On his 13th Blue Note album, Lovano hearkens back to deeper ancestral roots with Viva Caruso, a lyric homage to the songbook of legendary Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso, the first million-selling recording artist of the 20th century. It's a match made in heaven. The program consists of the popular songs and vernacular themes of Italy, operatic suites, and three adventurous, inspired originals. Deploying deft, subtle arrangements by Byron Olson for classical chamber ensemble and small orchestra, and occasionally blowing in front of a ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ted Panken
Celebrating Sinatra's set of Manny Albam arrangements ruminated on a constant musical presence in the soundtrack of Lovano's youth. On his 13th Blue Note album, Lovano hearkens back to deeper ancestral roots with Viva Caruso, a lyric homage to the songbook of legendary Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso, the first million-selling recording artist of the 20th century. It's a match made in heaven. The program consists of the popular songs and vernacular themes of Italy, operatic suites, and three adventurous, inspired originals. Deploying deft, subtle arrangements by Byron Olson for classical chamber ensemble and small orchestra, and occasionally blowing in front of a small jazz group propelled by drummer Joey Baron, Lovano profoundly reimagines the sublime melodies, accessing a novelistic range of emotions and ideas without a trace of bathos or kitsch. Having attained the age of 50, Lovano seems incapable of blowing a false note; Viva Caruso is a masterpiece.
All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Viva Caruso is easily one of tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano's most ambitious and enjoyable recordings. Much like Terence Blanchard's Jazz in Film or Uri Caine's Urlicht/Primal Light, Viva Caruso finds the reedman adapting orchestral melodies and harmonies to a jazz format. Inspired after reading a biography about Italian tenor and opera legend Enrico Caruso, Lovano spent most of 2000 through 2001 researching Caruso's music and developing this project. There is a progressive, third stream appeal to Viva Caruso, with the various instruments laying down intricate counter-melodies and liquid, pulsating rhythms. For example, "Vesto La Giubba" from Pagliacci is slowed down here into a kind of folk-jazz meditation, not unlike something Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio might do. Likewise, "Campane a Sera" features a pretty flute introduction to a very mid-'50s, Stan Kenton-style arrangement, and Gerald Wilson could very easily have scored "Soltano a Te" with its characteristically West Coast, neo-phonic horn sounds. Not wanting to merely focus on the arias Caruso is famous for, Lovano reworks many of the songs the singer recorded that are compiled on the Nimbus CD Caruso in Song. Most of these sides were originally arranged with a small wind ensemble, a format which Lovano employs on the original composition "Streets of Naples," a street party-like tango featuring accordion accents. One of the real revelations on the album is how comfortably much of Caruso's popular oeuvre adjusts to jazz improvisation. "Santa Lucia," with its tropical-island carnival atmosphere, features Lovano in a tenor, bass, and drum format reminiscent of Saxophone Colossus-era Sonny Rollins. Similarly, the spirit of Joe Henderson permeates the airy and lithe "O Sole Mio."
Entertainment Weekly
A heartfelt and creative reimagining of beautiful melodies
Absolute Sound
More than anything, Viva Caruso exemplifies and, in some ways, ennobles Lovano's fondness for fashioning thick, multi-layered concoctions...with juicy harmonies, fresh-and-zesty thematic lines and tonal seasonings delicately applied in order to surprise the palate.

A heartfelt and creative reimagining of beautiful melodies
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/23/2002
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • UPC: 724353598624
  • Catalog Number: 35986

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Joe Lovano Primary Artist, Reeds, Tenor Saxophone, Mouthpiece
Gil Goldstein Accordion
Herb Robertson Trumpet
John Clark French Horn
Joey Baron Drums
Ed Schuller Bass
Jamey Haddad Mazhar
Scott Lee Bass, Upright Bass
Dick Oatts Flute
Byron Olson Conductor
Michael Rabinowitz Bassoon
Charles Russo Bass Clarinet
Gary Valente Trombone
Michael Bocian Acoustic Guitar
Bob Meyer Percussion, Drums, Mallets
Judi Silvano Flute, Vocals, Voices
Billy Drewes Clarinet
Helen Campo Flute
Tom Christianson English Horn, Oboe
Byron Olsen Conductor
Technical Credits
Joe Lovano Arranger, Producer, Orchestration
Greg Calbi Mastering
James Farber Engineer
Will Friedwald Liner Notes
Byron Olson Arranger, Orchestration
Jessica Novod Art Direction
Henry Geehl Composer
Jessica Novod Berenblat Art Direction
P.J. O'Reilly Composer
Byron Olsen Arranger
James A. Farber Engineer
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