52nd Street Themes

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52nd Street Themes
52nd Street Themes - album cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 25, 2000 (2000-04-25)
RecordedNovember 3–4, 1999
Studio Avatar Studios, New York
Genre Jazz
Label Blue Note
Producer Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano chronology
Trio Fascination: Edition One
52nd Street Themes
Flights of Fancy: Trio Fascination Edition Two
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [1]
Los Angeles Times Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [2]
Tom Hull B+ [3]

52nd Street Themes is a studio album by the American jazz saxophonist Joe Lovano. [4] [5] It was recorded in early November 1999 and released by the Blue Note label on April 25, 2000. [6] [7] The album won the Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. [8] It is named after the jazz standard by Thelonious Monk. [9]



To record the album, Lovano has assembled a medium-sized band of prominent musicians, inviting trumpeter Tim Hagans, trombonist Conrad Herwig, alto saxophonist Steve Slagle, baritonist Gary Simulyan, pianist John Hicks, bassist Dennis Irwin, drummer Lewis Nash, and tenor saxophonists George Garzone and Ralph Lalama. The record also features Cleveland-based jazz composers and arrangers Tadd Dameron and Willie Smith. Lovano initially met them through his father, Tony Lovano, who was also a saxophonist collaborating with both of them. Later, Lovano and Smith played saxophone together in Jack McDuff's band—for which Smith wrote. [10] On 52nd Street Themes Lovano plays only tenor sax. [11]


Doug Ramsey of Jazz Times stated:

Lovano’s venture in nostalgia is a visit to the music that he heard when he was growing up and becoming a musician in Cleveland. Fortunately for him, and for the listener, what he heard under the aegis of his father were the great jazz artists of the ’40s and ’50s. The compositions the tenor saxophonist explores were written or played by Tadd Dameron, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Ernie Henry, Billy Strayhorn and George Gershwin. Lovano and his father’s friend and colleague Willie “Face” Smith arranged seven of them for a nine-piece band... Lovano hopes to establish his nonet as a working, traveling band. The evidence of this first outing favors that idea.

Doug, Ramsey (1 September 2000). "Joe Lovano: 52nd Street Themes, Blue Note Records". Jazz Times . jazztimes.com. Retrieved 28 March 2016.

David Adler of All About Jazz commented:

While Joe Lovano has played some decidedly non-mainstream music during his career, this record is a powerful reminder of the tenor giant’s debt to the tradition. Still, the music has that unmistakable Lovano edge. Joined by what is in essence a small big band, Lovano pays tribute to the legendary players and composers of the bebop era, with a concentration on the great Tadd Dameron. Willie "Face" Smith (not to be confused with the famed altoist who died in 1967) wrote the orchestrations.

Adler, David (May 1, 2000). "Joe Lovano Nonet: 52nd Street". All About Jazz . allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 28 March 2016.

Track listing

1."If You Could See Me Now" Tadd Dameron, Carl Sigman 3:53
2."On a Misty Night"Dameron5:03
3."Sippin' at Bells" Miles Davis 5:11
4."Passion Flower" Billy Strayhorn 5:04
5."Deal"Willie "Face" Smith7:13
6."The Scene Is Clean"Dameron3:48
7."Whatever Possess'd Me"Dameron3:58
8."Charlie Chan"Lovano8:07
9."Theme for Ernie"Fred Lacey5:52
10."Tadd's Delight"Dameron7:49
11."Abstractions on 52nd Street"Joe Lovano2:04
12."52nd Street Theme" Thelonious Monk 4:32
13."Embraceable You" George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin 4:58
Total length:01:07:32


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  1. Wolff, Carlo. "Joe Lovano: 52nd Street Themes". allmusic.com . Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  2. Heckman, Don (May 4, 2000). "Four From the Wide Spectrum That Is Jazz". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  3. "Tom Hull: Grade List: Joe Lovano". Tom Hull . Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  4. "Must Hear". CMJ New Music Report . CMJ Network, Inc. 62 No.7 (665). 8 May 2000. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  5. Pekar, Harvey (1 June 2000). "Joe Lovano: 52nd Street Themes (Blue Note)". clevescene.com . Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  6. "Joe Lovano Nonet: 52nd Street Themes". Discogs . discogs.com. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  7. Margolis, Bob (24 April 2000). "Joe Lovano Dips Into History for 52nd Street Themes". MTV. mtv.com . Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  8. "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album". grammy.com . Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  9. Adler, David (1 May 2000). "Joe Lovano Nonet: 52nd Street Themes". All About Jazz . Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  10. Pekar, Harvey. "Joe Lovano: 52nd Street Themes (Blue Note)". Cleveland Scene . Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  11. Hooper, Joseph (3 April 2000). "Sonic Youth, Stereolab Fall Short … Lovano 52nd St. by Way of Cleveland". Observer. Retrieved 11 April 2019.