Joe Lovano Us Five flies more than 7,000 miles to perform


Ashleigh Atasoy

Taiwan isn’t exactly the usual place for jazz music to thrive, but then again, Joe Lovano Us Five isn’t exactly your everyday jazz band.
Arriving back from a tour halfway across the world, Joe Lovano and his crew (Esperanza Spaulding, James Weidman, Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela) were one of the first acts at the opening night of Roots N Blues N Bbq.
In Peace Park, the band’s smooth hues of jazz quickly took hold of the crowd, eliciting a dance move here, a head shake there and even a steady knee bob from me.  Throughout the performance, the saxophone monologues added to the lively atmosphere. Among others, the songs “Us 5,” “Birdtrack,” “Dailybread,” “Folk Art,” “Loose the Mooch” and “Passport” appealed to both the diehard jazz fans in the audience as well as the urban listeners arriving from a busy day at work.  The velvety songs electrified the crowd.
I could feel the music seeping into my body, lifting my mood almost instantly, pushing me into a euphoric state. Esperanza Spaulding only adds to the overall effect, captivating her audience with her obvious passion for the bass.  And who knew the bass could be so enchanting?  Spaulding effortlessly strings together the notes, weaving an intricate masterpiece together before the audience.
All in all, there was so much raw talent in this group. Clinging to the air, forcing its way into the audience, Joe Lovano Us Five quickly hypnotized the crowd, taking them to a different world.  The band not only served as a an escape from everyday life, but as a route to relaxation.
It was worth their journey.
By Ashleigh Atasoy
Click here for a video of Joe Lovano Us Five playing.
For more coverage on the Roots N’ Blues festival, click here.
For a schedule of who will be performing what, click here.