Folk Art (album)

Folk Art is the twenty-first studio album by American saxophonist Joe Lovano, released on Blue Note Records in 2009. The album was well-received by critics, scoring 84% on six reviews in Metacritic which means "universal acclaim".[6]

Folk Art
Studio album by
Joe Lovano Us Five
ReleasedMay 5, 2009
RecordedNovember 18–19, 2008
StudioSear Sound, NYC
GenreJazz, post-bop
LabelBlue Note
ProducerJoe Lovano
Joe Lovano Us Five chronology
Folk Art
Bird Songs
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The Guardian[3]


For the recording of Folk Art Lovano formed a new band he called Us Five, featuring rising star Esperanza Spalding on bass and pianist James Weidman, who accompanied vocalists Abbey Lincoln and Cassandra Wilson, and (like Wilson) was associated with the M-Base collective. With Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III two drummers completed the unusual quintet. It was the first album with compositions exclusively written by Lovano. With the liberated spirit of the 1960s avant-garde and the subsequent loft scene in mind, the interpretations ought to be "loose and joyous".[7]


John Fordham of The Guardian noted "It's Lovano's 21st album for Blue Note - and one of his freest, letting group relations go where they will. The melodies are full of character: the wheeling theme of the title track unfolds over a piano vamp, with an eerie, nursery rhyme-like motif as the countermelody... Lovano pulls no punches here, but his lyrical instincts are also strong; Folk Art remains as accessible as its title implies it ought to be".[3] Ben Ratliff of The New York Times commented "“Folk Art” might be his woolliest album. It’s a bit out of focus, perhaps intentionally. Made with his new band, Us Five, it’s sketchy, groovy and a little burdensome. The album isn’t set up as a reference to any one composer, style or period, but we’re strangely deep into the early 1970s here".[8] Will Layman of PopMatters commented "At this stage of the game, Joe Lovano's name guarantees a certain level of quality in jazz. His boundless imagination has promised great playing, but it has also generated a somewhat restless recording career, with a different band or approach on nearly every recording. With Us Five, Lovano has found a flexible and exciting working band, a group that can play down the center or off on the side, that can swing joyously or reach for the heights of abstraction. Here's hoping that Lovano and Blue Note love this band as much as it deserves to be loved. More please".[4]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Joe Lovano.

Standard Edition
2."Folk Art"10:06
3."Wild Beauty"7:17
4."Us Five"8:09
5."Song for Judi"5:46
6."Drum Song"8:30
8."Page 4"5:52
Total length:01:04:40



  1. "FOLK ART by Joe Lovano Us Five". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  2. Folk Art at AllMusic
  3. Fordham, John (21 May 2009). "Jazz review: Joe Lovano, US Five Folk Art". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  4. Layman, Will (21 May 2009). "Joe Lovano Us Five: Folk Art". PopMatters. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  5. "Joe Lovano: Folk Art". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  6. "FOLK ART by Joe Lovano Us Five". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  7. Folk Art on Lovano's homepage.
  8. Ratliff, Ben (17 May 2009). "New CDs by Lionel Richie, Method Man and Redman, and Joe Lovano Us Five". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
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