Sunday, August 18, 2013

Miami Saxophone Quartet Four Of A Kind Fortitude Records 2013


The Miami Saxophone Quartet is attempting to put a little fun back into improvisational music that more often than not takes takes itself way too seriously.
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

I want to like it...I do.
The immediate problem is that there have been saxophone quartets before and they have been far more adventurous and far less predictable than the Miami Saxophone Quartet. Don't get wrong, predictable is not the politically correct terminology for bad, it simply means there are not any surprises here of note. Musicianship and the original compositions from Garry Lindsay are in fact spot on. The rhythm section here is tight, no surprises. There simply is no wow factor given the high level of proficiency that the cast of characters here is capable of.

No ensemble of any size should every cover "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" unless for a children's recording or perhaps a youth concert for a local school system. "Sophisticated Lady" is a signature Duke Ellington tune and while the arrangement is somewhat "one note" at times, the end result is nothing spectacular. If you cover Ellington then you best make it memorable. A cameo from highly regarded trumpet player Brian Lynch and mallet titan Svet Stoyanov (vibraphone and marimba) add a nice depth of field and plenty of much needed texture but even their prolific talents can not seem to pump up this somewhat dome scratching set of eclectic tunes and odd placed originals.

I play saxophone so this should in fact should be right in my wheelhouse, it's not. It's not bad though, just different. If you are a saxophone fan and of Ed Calle and Mike Brignola in particular then this is a release for you. Not a train wreck by any stretch of the imagination. Just not a release you may remember long.

Average. 3 Stars.

Tracks: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; Don't Look Back; Lost (and found); Sophisticated Lady; Prelude - Invention-Suspension; Early Autumn; It's A Raggy Waltz; Sweet Bread.

Personnel: Gary Keller: Soprano Saxophone; Gary Lindsay: Alto Saxophone; Ed Calle: Tenor Saxophone; Mike Brignola: Baritone Saxophone; Jim Gasior: Piano; Chuck Bergeron: Bass; John Yarling: Drums.