Dressed from head to toe in shades of red, saxophonist Joe Lovano looked as colorful as the arrays of flowers that surrounded him in Longwood Gardens' conservatory Saturday night. Bounding across the ballroom stage, juggling several exotic horns in addition to his trademark tenor saxophone, Lovano led his Us Five quintet through a set no less bursting with radiant colors.
Us Five has been Lovano's primary vehicle since 2009, and the group has grown to embody the collective identity suggested by its name. It engaged in a vigorous five-way dialogue Saturday, roaming spontaneously through repertoire from its three Blue Note CDs (the latest, Cross Culture, was released Jan. 8). Lovano's compositions were suggestions rather than frameworks, leaping-off points for lengthy, adventurous explorations.