148

World Saxophone Quartet: Experience

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
World Saxophone Quartet: Experience With its glory days more than arguably behind it, the WSQ has become something of a powerhouse repertory band. Beginning in 1977, the four saxophonists (then Hamiet Bluiett, Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, and David Murray) released seven remarkable albums in eight years before finding a second calling as an interpreting ensemble with 1986's brilliant Plays Duke Ellington. They followed that with an R&B set and a meeting with African drums; good albums both, but they marked the loss of Hemphill and the beginning of a rotating fourth chair, with Arthur Blythe, James Spaulding, Eric Person, John Purcell, and now Bruce Williams completing the quartet, often with a rhythm section added. And after albums paying tribute to Ellington and Miles Davis, the WSQ turns to a less likely source: Jimi Hendrix.

Experience is a rewarding, if uneven album. Some tracks feature the horns unaccompanied, others add a variety of guests. In addition to drummer Gene Lake and bassist Matthew Garrison, Craig Harris provides trombone, didgeridoo, and spoken word; and Billy Bang plays violin. The disc was recorded over three days in March 2003, with all but two of the tracks produced by the band. As a result, the album doesn't quite work as a piece, but the individual tracks still succeed.

Approaches wander from the sweet, naked singing familiar from the band's early days to simple settings for poetry to gently funky arrangements that would fit in on an old Stanley Turrentine record. Some of the choices were inevitable. They work over "Foxy Lady, do a soulful "If 6 Was 9 and an abstract "Hey Joe. But there's no "Purple Haze, no "Fire, no "Crosstown Traffic —even the suggested titular track doesn't show up. Instead, they blast through "Freedom and make a bass clarinet ballad out of "Hear My Train A Comin'. Their best may be behind them, but they've still got the spirit.

Track Listing: Freedom; If 6 Was 9; Hey Joe; Machine Gun; Little Wing; Foxey Lady; Hear My Train a Comin'; The Wind Cries Mary

Personnel: Billy Bang (Violin); Hamiet Bluiett (Baritone Sax); Matthew Garrison (Bass Guitar); Craig Harris (Trombone, Didjeridu); Gene Lake (Drums); Oliver Lake (Alto Sax, Soprano Sax)

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Justin Time Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "The Other Shore" CD/LP/Track Review The Other Shore
by John Sharpe
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Silk & Steel" CD/LP/Track Review Silk & Steel
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Intermission" CD/LP/Track Review Intermission
by Dave Wayne
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Prairie Burn" CD/LP/Track Review Prairie Burn
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "In Movement" CD/LP/Track Review In Movement
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Potsdamer Platz" CD/LP/Track Review Potsdamer Platz
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: February 3, 2017

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!