Let's hear it for the great Italian tenors: Pavarotti, Caruso, Lovano. Huh?! That's right, music fans, besides the vocal prowess of generations of golden-throated opera singers, the world has also seen its fair share of great Italian tenors of the jazz saxophone variety, for instance Joe Lovano.
But in Lovano's case, nurture as much as nature might serve to explain his current stature among the tenor saxophone elite. For starters, there's the auspicious photo of baby Joe nestled in his mother's arms along with a saxophone. Then there were the formative years, learning at the knee of his father, Tony "Big T" Lovano. The elder Lovano gave young Joe a complete education in the dynamics of jazz, while exposing him to such giants of the form as Lester Young and Rahsaan Roland Kirk as they toured through Lovano's native Cleveland.
As part of a class at Berklee College of Music in Boston in the 1970s that included groundbreaking guitarists John Scofield and Bill Frisell, Lovano absorbed the lessons of the greats while continuing to push the edge of experimentation. Versed in classic and modern methods, he incorporated the two into his signature sound. It allowed him to work easily with more conventional old-school acts such as Woody Herman and organist Lonnie Smith, then follow that up with a stint in the thoroughly modern and trailblazing group the Paul Motian Trio.
Since beginning a solo career in the mid-'80s, Lovano has pumped out more than 20 albums, all of them stellar, a few of them classic. He's been Down Beat magazine's jazz artist of the year and been nominated for half a dozen Grammy Awards -- winning one in 2000 for his album 52nd Street Themes -- all the while working with artists as diverse as Mose Allison, Ray Barretto, Dave Brubeck, and Charlie Haden.
Lovano will lead a free master class on jazz performance at 4:00 p.m. and then will headline a concert at 8:00 p.m., both at the University of Miami's Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables. Tickets cost $20. Call 305-284-4940. -- By John Anderson
Poet, surfer girl, hippie chick, pop idol. All these labels have been affixed to '90s sensation Jewel, who wowed the world with her blue-eyed soul-on-the-skids style. Soon after her first megahit, "Who Will Save Your Soul," in 1995, she was propelled to pop deity status, with little grunge girls lining up at bookstores to buy her collections of poetry and walking around all introspective-like. Jewel was supposed to be a cultural movement. Jewel was supposed to foil the toxic damage fomented by Britney Spears. Somehow it just didn't work out. Last year the singer took her turn at booty-shaking with her ironic hit "Intuition," which criticizes sugary pop while at the same time embracing it. It got the blond waif back on the charts, so there's no chance of her living out of a VW van again, as she did before she got famous. Jewel sings at 8:00 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets range from $38 to $56. Call 954-462-0222. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Wild things storm the stage
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If your kid comes home snorting like a pig today, the Bergonzi String Quartet is probably responsible. Named for famed violin maker Carlo Bergonzi, the 10-year-old classical music ensemble will perform French composer Camille Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals during this season's final Sunday Afternoons of Music for Children. Written in 1886, the lighthearted piece features instrumental portrayals of various beasts. It's a favorite of tykes, so that's where Junior might have taken his inspiration. Guest guitarist Simon Salz promises some surprises as well today, and a very apropos instrument petting zoo will offer kiddies the chance to try out pint-sized instruments. As always Peter the Mime will open festivities and a cookie, balloon, and juice party will wrap it up. The fun goes on at 3:00 p.m. at the University of Miami's Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables. Tickets cost $8 for kids; $10 for adults. Call 305-271-7150. -- By Nina Korman
While some may still consider the concert hall the place the upper crust go to enjoy stodgy old music, the New World Symphony's Sounds of the Times programs at the Lincoln Theatre (541 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) might provide -- for better or worse -- an ear-opening experience. Tonight's intriguing material comes from a trio of 20th-century avant-garde masters and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. Perhaps best known is composer Edgard Varèse, who was completely at ease in the budding electronic age and among the first to utilize modern equipment. His Déserts was written for wind, percussion, and taped elements. Luciano Berio's Duets for Two Violins is a series of violin sketches. Suite for Violin and American Gamelan by Lou Harrison charts territory in the world music direction. As well as conducting the performance, Thomas will present his own percussive piece, Island Music. Acclaimed violinist Chee-Yun (above) joins in with marimbists Jack Van Geem and Nancy Zeltsman. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Call 305-673-3331. -- By Margaret Griffis