Joe Lovano

Active during a period of jazz history when it seemed radical innovation was a thing of the past, Joe Lovano nevertheless coalesced 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 doesn't adopt influences -- he absorbs them -- so that when playing a standard, he exudes the same sense of abandon as when playing totally free (which, it should be pointed out, he does well, if infrequently). Lovano's most significant achievement is his incorporation of free and modal expressive devices into traditional chord-change improvisation.