All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

322

Miami Saxophone Quartet: Midnight Rumba

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Several things help set the Miami Saxophone Quartet apart from comparable groups: one, the brilliantly textured charts, most of them written by Ed Calle or Gary Lindsay; two, the emphasis on Latin and Hispanic motifs and melodies, epitomized by Calle's three-movement Iberia Suite; and three, the use of percussion on three selections, guest artist Arturo Sandoval on trumpet, flugelhorn and piano, and vocalist Jon Secada on his own composition, "Angel. Midnight Rumba, the third album by the MSQ, celebrates Latin culture and tradition through song, but not exclusively, as there is room as well for Ralph Burns' jazz standard "Early Autumn (featuring Sandoval's flugel), James Taylor's contemporary folk song "Benjamin, and the Gershwin brothers' "My Ship, smartly arranged for the quartet by Pete McGuiness.

The album opens on a fiery note as the MSQ eagerly devours a steaming bowl of Calle's tantalizing, Afro-Cuban-based "Rice and Beans, helped along by percussionists Richard Bravo and Lee Levin. Besides Calle (tenor sax) and Lindsay (alto), the other members of the quartet are Gary Keller (soprano, tenor) and Mike Brignola (baritone). The tempo slows for "Angel, whose lovely melody is enhanced by Sandoval's lithe muted trumpet and impaired by a nearly incomprehensible lyric.

The Iberia Suite, inspired, writes Calle, by "the rich history, beauty and traditions of Spain, begins with "Midnight Rumba, depicting the sultry atmosphere of the streets of Madrid, which come to life at midnight, and continues with the "sonorous serenity of "Siesta before sketching a musical portrait of the city and people of "Pamplona, site of the annual running of the bulls. "I hope, writes Calle, "that the listener will hear conversations among participants and observers, step into a tavern for some 'tapas' and a glass of wine, watch a couple dance flamenco, sense the awesome power of the charging bulls, and feel the exhilaration of a successful run. A tall order, but Calle and the MSQ come close.

The tumult of "Pamplona precedes the lyrical "Benjamin (performed by the quartet alone), "Early Autumn, and two well-known works by Dizzy Gillespie, "A Night in Tunisia, on which Sandoval not only plays trumpet but introduces the piece with an improvised piano solo while the percussionists turn up the heat, and "Con Alma, a feature for Keller's supple tenor, adeptly underlined by bassist Chuck Bergeron. "Autumn is a gem, with the saxophones weaving richly harmonic sound patterns through and around Sandoval's expressive flugel. The graceful "Ship, scored originally for McGuiness's New York Trombone Conspiracy, is ably manned by the quartet alone, as is the late Astor Piazzolla's buoyant tango "Bordel 1900, which neatly seals the package.

Another well-earned triumph for the MSQ, which stares down these formidable charts without uneasiness or pause and handily nails every note. For lovers of the saxophone quartet, a rich and flavorful banquet.

Visit the Miami Saxophone Quartet on the web.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Fourtified

Fourtified

Fourtitude
2009

buy
Midnight Rumba

Midnight Rumba

Fourtitude
2005

buy
Live

Live

Fourtitude
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read World Domination Vol 1: Furie CD/LP/Track Review
World Domination Vol 1: Furie
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review
20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Frank Salis CD/LP/Track Review
Frank Salis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Live! CD/LP/Track Review
Live!
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 19, 2018
Read My Favorite Things(1960-1969) CD/LP/Track Review
My Favorite Things(1960-1969)
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 19, 2018
Read The Acadian Orogeny CD/LP/Track Review
The Acadian Orogeny
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 19, 2018
Read "No World Between Us" CD/LP/Track Review No World Between Us
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "No Answer" CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Tipping My Hat To Leonard" CD/LP/Track Review Tipping My Hat To Leonard
by Paul Naser
Published: July 3, 2018
Read "Doubtless" CD/LP/Track Review Doubtless
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 2, 2018
Read "Life at Nectar's" CD/LP/Track Review Life at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "The Asylum Years" CD/LP/Track Review The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018