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 Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Live At Zaal 100" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Zaal 100
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "Black Ice" CD/LP/Track Review Black Ice
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "All Hot Bodies Radiate" CD/LP/Track Review All Hot Bodies Radiate
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: May 26, 2016
Read "Split Kick - Live In Sweden 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Split Kick - Live In Sweden 1972
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Spacebound Apes" CD/LP/Track Review Spacebound Apes
by Phil Barnes
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Amiira" CD/LP/Track Review Amiira
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!