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CODE Quartet

CODE Quartet is a collective quartet based out of Montreal. Formed four years ago by Christine Jensen on saxophones, Lex French on trumpet, Adrian Vedady on acoustic bass, and Jim Doxas on drums, the group came together with the equal goals of composing and improvising in a chordless-quartet setting.

The primary motivation for the formation of the group has been to build on the freedom of expression pioneered by Ornette Coleman’s seminal group of the 1950s, with two horns interacting with acoustic bass and drums. They prioritize the idea that each voice within the collective is given equal weight, blurring the boundaries between lead and supporting voices, between frontline instruments and the rhythm section.

The group have spent the past three years sculpting their original compositions as a team, leading them to some exciting performance opportunities. Over the past four years, they have performed residencies at jazz clubs in Montreal as well as The Wellington Jazz festival in New Zealand in June 2019.

The group’s principal focus is to present original compositions, orchestrated exclusively for this particular ensemble, weighing heavily on their improvisatory reactions to the written material. The result is their album ‘Genealogy’.


Radio & Podcasts

Ground Breaking Sounds - Old and New

Read "Ground Breaking Sounds - Old and New" reviewed by Bob Osborne

Throughout the history of jazz innovation has been a key element of the development of the music. At key points in jazz history major changes in style, form and content have moved the music forward. Those changes have been picked up by other musicians and developed, interpreted, and enhanced leading to further change. This show is mainly about new releases but there are examples from earlier years of major influencers on jazz whose impact is still being felt today.

Album Review

CODE Quartet: Genealogy

Read "Genealogy" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

Chordless or not, quartets tend to find a way around the necessity of vertical simultaneousness to create significant harmonies. With the Montreal-based Code Quartet it's the former variety of instrumentation, combining a vital rhythm section of drum and bass with two horns, much like Ornette Coleman's groundbreaking quartet or its logical continuation in the group Old and New Dreams. The music of Genealogy, made up almost exclusively of originals--hold the traditional “O Sacred head, Now Wounded," harmonized by Johann Sebastian ...

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Neither bogged down nor lost in chaos, CODE Quartet’s expressive sensibility was well tuned. At one point Doxas began shaking his sheet music as a makeshift drum. You could feel the process occurring in the now, always opening outwards, never locking itself down.

Both Jensen and French exhibited a virtuosic control of their instrument, powerfully leading the band through energetic rapids or out across tranquil depths.

Citing themselves as grown out a jazz genealogy, CODE Quartet proved themselves both pure and progressive in their performance, a superb addition to the festival’s line-up this year

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Joe Lovano
Dave Douglas
Ornette Coleman
saxophone, alto
Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Warne Marsh
saxophone, tenor
Ron Miles
Dewey Redman
saxophone, tenor


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Justin Time Records


Watching It All Slip Away

From: Genealogy
By CODE Quartet

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