Tenor sax player Joe Lovano has never denied his Italian heritage. Last year he paid homage to opera singer Enrico Caruso - a salute from tenor to tenor. On that CD Viva Caruso Lovano is a master of cross-breeding. To improvise on already opera-arias known at great length bears witness of guts. But even the more flat pieces like O Sole Mio and Santa Lucia are lifted to a higher plane by Lovano. Lovano's approach is very varied - cordial, dramatic and here and there theatrical. The ensemble-playing with accordionist Gil Goldstein and drummer Joey Baron is lovely. Lovano started his musical career in the group of organist Lonnie Smith. He brought him to New York and in contact with Jack McDuff and Woody Herman, with whom the sax player toured for three years. After that he played with the Mel Lewis orchestra with which he recorded six albums. His work in the quartet of John Scofield, with whom he toured for several years and recorded six albums, marked his international break-through. His debut as solo-artist was released in 1991 on Blue Note. Ever since the sax player, about whom Scofield says that 'his feeling for swing and tone remind him of the older cats, in a positive way', has made many albums. Lovano masters all modern jazz styles and is now seen as one of the most important tenor sax players of these times.