Vinny Golia: Music For Like Instruments: The Eb Saxophones (2004)
Iconoclast and master reed wrangler Vinny Golia returns with his latest offering from his 9 Winds catalogue, Music for Like Instruments. This first of two such titled projects planned for this year focuses on the E flat saxophone, better known as the alto. Joined by Jason Mears, Beth Shenck, and Nathan Herrera, Golia creates music for wind quartet that juxtaposes highly original writing with inspired improvisational exchanges. He takes his chances with stritch, sopranino, and baritone saxophones, along with his beloved Tubax, a newly redesigned contrabass saxophone. As usual for a Golia project, the music and performances are dynamic and muscular.
After wailing his blues cry opening on stritch, Golia brings in the alto trio with a close rhythmic arrangement on "Would it Bother You?" That passion and warmth informs his quick-witted romp through the other reeds. His bloated burly Tubax runs free through the opening measures of "Schwarznegger." He imbues the big horn with the grace and agility of a sopranino. The ensemble joins for some tightly written passages that launch into a group improv. The quartet listens to eachother intently extending outward, and find their back into the theme seamlessly.
Switching to baritone for "We Believe the Use of Homo Sapiens is Time Sensitive," he reduces the quartet"s staccato phrases into pops and blips until the arrangement calls for the long tones that end the tune. Longer tones open "For Maurice Ohana," the sopranino sounding like an oboe, with the altos playing high. "Mothing from the Sea" features the baritone, and Mears takes a brief accapella solo. Golia duets with Herrera, while Mears and Schenck add occasional color. Multiphonics propel the brief "Bupos for Franco Boragoni."
"Chronos" has the sopranino meshed with the altos until a trill signals toneless blowing and extended techniques. When the ensemble reconvenes, the Tubax replaces the sopranino. Golia improvises a brisk solo with some color from the altos toward the end. Mears leads the way on "One Additional Thing," a ballad with Vinny on baritone. Schenck plays a sultry solo with ensemble support.
"Name Someone You Don"t Know" pairs the quartet off with Mears and Golia playing unison against unisons by Schenck and Herrera. Eventually, they drift out of phase, each improvising. After a brief phase of energy music, Mears and Golia chase eachother, with Mears clearly up to the task. Herrera opens "Killer Bees & Bananas," then Schenck gets a brief, smeary solo before her duet with Mears. Golia"s sopranino wails solo to the end.
Over the years Golia has proven himself to be crucial artist worth watching. His innovations and explorations showcase the best of improvised music and daring composition. Music for Like Instruments continues the trend.
Track Listing: Would it Bother You?; Schwarznegger; We believe the use of Homo Sapiens is time sensitive; For Maurice Ohana; Mothing from the Sea; Bopus, for Franco Beragoni; Chronos; One Additional Thing?; Winston misbehaves with the smoking Macedonian to comfort his loneliness; Trilled to be here; Raising of the Pillows; Name someone you don?t know; Killer Bees & Bananas; Variations and Themes in A flat based on the Barelli sequences.
Personnel: Vinny Golia, contrabass, baritone, and sopranino saxophones, and stritch; Beth Schenck, alto saxophone; Jason Mears, alto saxophone; Nathan Herrera, alto saxophone.