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Long recognized as an avant-garde fixture with creativity up the wazoo, the World Saxophone Quartet has a language all its own. Its four-part harmony flows worlds apart from the norm while its improvised antics reach right out into your soul and grab hold. The quartet's albums can usually be ranked at the top before you even take a listen because you know that emotions are going to be on fire.
As a departure from the World Saxophone Quartet's usual performance, Political Blues allows its members to communicate with a broader audience in terms that everybody can appreciate. They've incorporated the blues into their creative work in such a way that it gets right to the heart of the matter. With an augmented line-up that makes trombonist Craig Harris a full-time member of the organization, the band's sound turns around. Electric bass, hard-hitting drums and guest vocalists add considerable changes to the quartet's usual format. The WSQ has departed from its funky avant-garde position, and has entered territory usually reserved for rhythm-and-blues bands.
The personality that David Murray, Oliver Lake, Hamiet Bluiett and Jaleel Shaw issue comes from the WSQ's original roots. Intense and filled with passion, their music rocks hard. This time out, however, they've decided to communicate from a casual perspective that opens the door for pointed lyric messages and vital discourse. The world needs to wake up and listen.
Track Listing: Political Blues; Hal
Personnel: Bluiett: baritone saxophone; David Murray: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, vocal (1); Oliver Lake: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, vocal (11); Jaleel Shaw: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bruce Williams: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone (4, 11); Craig Harris: trombone, didjeridoo, vocal (6); Jeremy Pelt: trumpet (1); Herve Samb: guitar (1); James
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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