Shawn Lovato is a New York-based bassist and composer whose work spans the many traditions, approaches, and styles of creative contemporary music. Growing up on the outskirts of New York City, Lovato has roots in its local underground music of hip hop, metal, and punk rock. These early fringe sensibilities are evident in his commitment to jazz, contemporary concert and improvised music, bringing him from CBGB to The Stone to Lincoln Center. As a bold voice in New York’s improvisation and jazz communities, Lovato collaborates with some of the most dynamic musicians in the scene, working with material spanning from free-improvisation to the American Songbook.
As a composer, performer, and bandleader, Lovato released Cycles of Animation (Skirl, 2017), featuring Loren Stillman on alto saxophone, Brad Shepik on guitar, Santiago Leibson on piano, and Chris Carroll on drums. Lovato’s quintet blends open improvisations embedded in dark textures and colors with highly composed rhythmic interaction between voices. JazzTrail’s Felipe Freitas describes the album as “absolutely stunning…a showcase for an organic mosaic of colors, rhythms, and textures.”
Microcosms (forthcoming from ears&eyes Records, September 2022) is Lovato’s septet, born out of a commission from New Music outfit Hotel Elefant, of which Lovato is a founding member. Lovato composed a striking and intricately developed suite performed by members of Hotel Elefant: violinist Patti Kilroy, guitarist Hannis Brown, and himself and by improvisers outside of the core ensemble: alto saxophonist Michaël Attias, pianist Santiago Leibson, drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, and percussionist Colin Hinton.
As All About Jazz’s Troy Dostert writes, “Lovato’s compositions are filled with incessant motion. With a good deal of rhythmic dynamism and a fluid loosely-structured sound…it’s not only the infectious grooves that fuel the animation in Lovato’s approach…With a distinctive compositional approach and a knack for finding the right partners to bring it to life, Lovato’s already on his way to making a name for himself, and his future endeavors should be worth following closely.”
An active educator in the NYC area, Lovato serves as Adjunct Instructor at Hofstra University and teaches private students. He is the father of two children and two cats.