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A few years ago, there seemed to be a new saxophone quartet springing up every five minutes. The configurations typically featured differing sounds from the saxophone family, from the tiny sopranino to the huge baritone. So why not showcase the various sounds of the electric guitar in a quartet?
Led by Paolo Sorge, this foursome does just that. Together with Giancarlo Mazzù, Fabrizio Licciardello and Enrico Cassia, Sorge's quartet winds its way though a jazz program. with some classical and a bit of New York's Downtown vibe thrown in for good measure.
Certainly the possibilities are endless with electric guitars. These four players have chosen a chamber sound, playing mostly within a structured format. The disc opens with Sorge's "Spring Changes," a disciplined 11-minute piece that displays varying range and accompaniment possibilities. The four exchange notes, playing off each other and echoing notes. Claude Debussy's "String Quartet Op. 10III Movement" boasts strong harmonies, while Elliot Sharp's "Bubblewrap" dives into a distortion/shredded landscape, one that never really loses the control and sympathy defined by this chamber ensemble.
The simplest measures, as heard on "Day of Miracles" as pure melodies, are almost folkloric; here, the guitars play with the possibilities of repetition, each player speeding into a circle of sound before opening into freer territory. By the time the quartet gets to Fred Frith