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The Windmill Saxophone Quartet: This 'n' That

Jim Santella By

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The Washington, D.C. based Windmill Saxophone Quartet employs soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones along with flutes and clarinets in an adventurous session that was recorded in 1990 but released just this year.

Clayton Englar, Jesse Meman, Ken Plant, and Tom Monroe combine timbres from dissimilar instruments – such as piccolo with bass sax – to support their wide spectrum of ideas. Working without a rhythm section, the quartet relies on sensible arrangements that allow the artists to trade roles seamlessly. Their most frequently used approach combines soprano, alto, tenor, and bass saxophones in logical harmonies. You can find more information at .

John Coltrane's ballad "Naima" is performed with interwoven saxophone voices; traditional solo work is offered by Plant on tenor, Englar on bass,and Meman on alto. Similarly, Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" flows with lyrical phrasing from flutes, clarinet, alto and tenor. The Lennon-McCartney favorite "I Am the Walrus" captures the light spirit of the original with flute, bass sax, piccolo, and changing inner voices. Englar provides a solid bass saxophone riff to anchor Bronislau Kaper's "Invitation," which includes lively solo work from each of the other three saxophonists. The quartet's original compositions allow them to offer a wide variety of sounds that stretch from traditional swing to today's avant-garde. The session's highlight is Charlie Parker's "Be-Bop," which places the foursome in a lengthy eight-minute arrangement that seems to combine the music of Supersax with that of the World Saxophone Quartet. Recommended.

Track Listing: Invitation; That; See; Soldier's Things; The Noon; Be-Bop; I Am the Walrus; This; Lush Life; Just Like That; Off-White Rhapsody; With; Naima; Perennial Abuse; Burning Down the House.

| Record Label: Global Village Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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