231

World Saxophone Quartet: Experience

Phil DiPietro By

Sign in to view read count
Sick 'o' standards? Here, the members of the World Saxophone Quartet, who could tackle anything, jack the repertoire of Jimi Hendrix and render it to their whim.

The WSQ is known for working without a rhythm section, but they use one here on 4 of 8 cuts (including "If 6 was 9"). That decision, coupled with whom they picked, is vital to the overall success of the outing. The ferocious drummer, Gene Lake, on fire throughout, is the real deal when it comes to acid rock. His contributions here would be no less fitting on a Hendrix tribute by Prince or his frequent employer, Dave Fiuczynski. Nepotism's negative connotations (he's Oliver's kid) become immaterial in proportion to the explosiveness of bombs and subtlety of science he drops throughout.

No bassist comes more harmonically and philosophically equipped to deal with the Jimithang than Matt Garrison. Picked by Pat Metheny over a decade ago to play a on "Third Stone from the Sun" from the tribute compilation Stone Free, he's capable of handling Hendrixisms from the bass clef through the treble clef and beyond. Note his uncanny knack for duplicating the aural and emotional effect of those tripped-out two and three-note chord shards that Jimi pioneered on "Little Wing." His unabashedly assertive flirtations with the soloists can be thrilling, as on his countermelody during Murray's solo spot on "Freedom," or his own improvised line against the Dixieland-like improv section on "Machine Gun."

Billy Bang's presence on the latter tune is pure heat, an improvisation linked harmonically by virtue only of context, yet arguably more evocative of Jimi's spirit than any other moment on the record.

Remember, David Murray grew up in Berkeley in the 70's and has spent time onstage with the Grateful Dead, and Hendrix' spirit has perceptibly touched every member of the band , so it's no surprise that the rhythm section can be jettisoned completely. The arrangement for the horn-section treatment of the power chords on "Foxy Lady" epitomizes sophisticated simplicity, while the simultaneous improv that follows exemplifies synchronous pandemonium.

"Hey Joe" demonstrates the sanctified assiduousness that the WSQ brings to any musical situation, with a remarkably straight, superb arrangement. It's their personalized take on lush Ellingtonian melancholia, with only allusions to outside tonalities, never veering out of accessible territory. Murray's blues-drenched command maintains consonance until his ending altissimo birdcall, while Oliver Lake begins with a toe dipped inside but quickly soars outward, his lines drenched in liquid quick Dolphyisms, his sad handoff to Bluiett then flipped into a joyful, yet reflective, noise. Finally, newest member Bruce Williams' plaintive wail on soprano knocks the proceedings out of the park as Bluiett bleats the tune's distinctive bass line, for the first time, a full six minutes in.

Quick, name another sax quartet that's done Jimi at all, let alone this well. Now name a rock artist whose sonic mayhem lends itself better to the WSQ's particular brand of...sonic mayhem.


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

Personnel: David Murray- tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Bluiett- baritone saxophone; Oliver Lake- alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bruce Williams- soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Gene Lake- drums; Matthew Garrison- bass guitar; Craig Harris- didgeridoo on

Title: Experience | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Justin Time Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Retrorespective" CD/LP/Track Review Retrorespective
by Phillip Woolever
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5
by Doug Collette
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Chamber Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Chamber Jazz
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "By A Thread" CD/LP/Track Review By A Thread
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "The Day After" CD/LP/Track Review The Day After
by David A. Orthmann
Published: February 14, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.