149

World Saxophone Quartet: 25th Anniversary: The New Chapter

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
World Saxophone Quartet: 25th Anniversary: The New Chapter To the uninitiated, the title of this disc might portend bad omens. These four guys have been playing saxophone together for twenty-five years—how can they possibly still be interesting? Of course, that question is answered most affirmatively after a few minutes of listening, but it still deserves comment. With a combined eight decades of shared experience, the members of the WSQ have an amazing degree of cohesion. They constantly teeter on the balance between arranged parts and full-on improvisation, knowing intuitively when to hold back and when to unleash their collective energy.

25th Anniversary also marks a return to fundamentals for the WSQ, after numerous tributes and collaborations. Precisely four musicians play on this disc, and they perform only original compositions (David Murray's arrangement of the traditional "Goin' Home" is the sole exception). In this setting, individual musical personalities shine through more clearly than ever. The opening track, Murray's "Suki Suki Now," offers an upbeat bluesy theme with loosely interwoven harmonies—and plenty of space to stretch out. Contrast this version with the one found on Murray's recent Power Quartet recording (Like a Kiss That Never Ends) and the WSQ approach seems much more angular yet grounded. Even during formally coordinated parts, the quartet paints with broad strokes, blurring lines and shifting about to defy expectations. Bluiett's brief "Bits 'n' Pieces" presents darker hues, with greater harmonic and tonal complexity. The improvisation here is open-ended and moody. And with John Purcell's "The New Chapter," the quartet explores sonorities made possible through overdubbing. The WSQ's first experiment of this kind, Purcell's tune explores denser harmonies and allows players the opportunity to improvise over arranged segments. It's not a total success, but the novel approach holds potential for expanding the quartet's palette.

This disc offers special rewards to listeners interested in the possibilities available through pure saxophone sound. With the amazing tonal and timbral range available to these four players, 25th Anniversary presents proof that maturity can indeed be a valuable asset.


Track Listing: Suki Suki Now; Netdown; Bits 'n' Pieces; Goin' Home; Over a Cloud (Sobre una Nube); Stock; The New Chapter.

Personnel: Bluiett: baritone saxophone, contra-alto clarinet; Oliver Lake: alto saxophone; David Murray: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; John Purcell: saxello, alto flute, and Tibetan bells.

| Record Label: Justin Time Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Slag" CD/LP/Track Review Slag
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "The Harry Warren Song Book" CD/LP/Track Review The Harry Warren Song Book
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Sign of the Crow" CD/LP/Track Review Sign of the Crow
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "New York Connections" CD/LP/Track Review New York Connections
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Dogs" CD/LP/Track Review Dogs
by Doug Collette
Published: February 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!