Take Four Giant Steps
- Artist: Miami Saxophone Quartet
- Format: CD
- Release Date:3/25/2003
'Infectiously joyful arrangements, soulful improvisations, fine musical prowess, and four of the finest saxophone players in the business- the Miami Saxophone Quartet.' Dave Martin WUCF FM 89.9 Olando, Fl 'The quartet's open and fervent approach is felt on every composition as each musician performs through complex arrangements with tight interplay. John Coltrane's classic jazz piece 'Giant Steps' ..... is uniquely recreated with multiple horn lines and impressive solos...The horns are always lush and probing, conveying oneness.. an awe-inspiring rendition of 'America the Beautiful' .......saxophone nirvana.' Mark F Turner, allaboutjazz.com 'Phrasing, shaping, and contrast are paramount here, and the performance is varied and powerful. I truly enjoyed this CD.' Bob Mintzer '....the art of the Miami Saxophone Quartet was divine.' Javier Ortiz, allaboutJazz.com 'This is the hottest group to surface lately from the mix that is the Miami music scene. Each concert is a 'tour de sax.'' John E. Brown, Biscayne Bay Tribune Bob Mintzer's liner notes: The saxophone quartet can be a thing of beauty when the expansive sound and color possibilities of the instruments are fully utilized. It can also become a deadly weapon in the wrong hands when, for example, the ensemble brings a sameness to all it plays. Fortunately the Miami Saxophone Quartet has chosen the former rather than the latter approach. This is a fine ensemble, due in great part to the way these players combine such scope with meticulous attention to detail. Phrasing, shaping, and contrast are paramount here, and the performance is varied and powerful. The flexibility of the instrument makes the saxophone quartet a logical meeting ground for elements of jazz, classical and chamber music, groove and the blues. On this recording the Miami Saxophone Quartet joins these various styles together seamlessly, offering an interesting and eclectic musical program. While listening to this recording I was able to hear the influences of Thad Jones, Woody Herman, Ellington, Stravinsky, Debussy, even Muddy Waters. Yet the group has it's own distinct sound, thanks to the insightful choice of material and the expertise of the players, some of Miami's finest. Prominently featured are the compositions and arrangements of alto saxophonist Gary Lindsay, who knows a thing or two about orchestration (he teaches arranging and composition at the University of Miami). Gary has the ability to squeeze a multitude of shapes and colors out of the quartet. He takes the listener on a journey through childhood (three pieces prefaced by the title Childhood Memories) and down to Bourbon Street with a piece called 'Intoxicated Rag.' He also turns the Coltrane signature tune 'Giant Steps' inside out, outside in, upside down, and every which way. On 'Waltz for Joshua,' a Lindsay original, Gary takes yet another turn with the addition of Glen Basham, violin professor at the University of Miami and concertmaster of the Naples (Florida) Philharmonic. The combination sounds great (I may have to steal this idea!). Glen plays with a beautiful tone, and his jazz phrasing is right on the money. Finally, Gary's arrangement of 'America the Beautiful' is especially heartwarming to this New Yorker. Aside from all it's implications, this is simply a beautiful melody, put in a setting that does it justice. Rounding out the CD are pieces by saxophonist Jerry Dodgion, a Thad and Mel alum with whom I've had the pleasure of working in New York, a quartet by Johnny Carisi, one of the unsung heroes of jazz composition and a long-term affiliate of Gil Evans, and my own Saxophone Quartet #1. Jerry's piece, 'Thank You,' is a gorgeous song that we played occasionally during my time with the Jones/Lewis band. I am a player, a composer, and a big fan of music, and wearing all these hats has helped me realize that above all, music is subjective. What one person likes, the next may not. What one finds complex and profound, the next may find simple and obvious. With that in mind I try not to impose my own agenda in fear of swaying the listener from his or her own thoughts and perceptions. But personally speaking, I truly enjoyed this CD! Also, knowing the players and composers (except for this Mintzer guy? self knowledge is a lifelong endeavor), I can appreciate where the music came from. And as a player, I know how hard it is to produce an ensemble this tight. I sincerely hope you enjoy this recording as much as I have. Peace, Bob Mintzer Who's who in the Miami Saxophone Quartet: Gary Keller, the founder of the Miami Saxophone Quartet, has toured/recorded/performed with ensembles including Woody Herman, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Dave Liebman, Ira Sullivan, Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Manny Album, Kenny Werner, Chico O'Farrill, Kenny wheeler, Clare Fischer and the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band. He has also performed/recorded with the Florida Philharmonic, New World Symphony and the American Jazz Philharmonic. His debut CD 'Blues For An Old New Age' on Double-time recordes has arnered critical praise, including a three and one half star award from prestigious Penguin Guide to Recorded Jazz. Gary currently teaches at the University of Miami, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1982. Gary Lindsay's has performed with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Mike and Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Jaco Pastorius and many others. He has performed as a featured jazz soloist with the Florida Philharmonic and the Naples Philharmonic. Jazz writing credits include the Maynard Ferguson Band, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Arturo Sandoval, the Atlantean Driftwood Band, the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band as well as commissions for the US Air Force 'Airmen of Note.' The Arturo Sandoval album 'I Remember Clifford' garnered him a Grammy nomination in jazz arranging and he is a recipient of an NEA grant in jazz composition. Gary's pop arranging credits include Jose Feliciano, Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, Christina Aguilera, Michael Bolton and more Gary's extensive writing for the Miami Saxophone Quartet includes both original compositions and arrangements of pieces in a variety of styles. Gary is Professor of Music and Director of the Studio/Jazz Writing program and DMA program in Jazz Composition at the University of Miami, where he has been teaching since 1978. He Ed Calle needs little introduction. One of the world's top recording saxophonists, he has worked with artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Ricky Martin, and Lenny Kravitz. His playing is featured on hundreds of recordings by today's top artists in the Pop, Jazz, and Latin idioms. Ed has five solo albums under His name: Nightgames (Epic); DoubleTalk (Sony Latin Jazz); In The Zone (SMI); Sunset Harbor (Concord); and Twilight (Concord). He is currently recording his third album for Concord entitled 'Mambo Wambo.' Mike Brignola, one of the world's great baritone saxophone and bass clarinet players, has been a member of the Miami Saxophone Quartet since it's inception in 1996. During his 25-year performing career he has played in a wide variety of musical settings as a jazz soloist, ensemble player, and recording artist. Mike played with jazz legend Woody Herman for the last seven years of Woody's career as a big band leader. Playing the same 'chair' in Woody's 'four brothers' sax section formerly occupied by the legendary Serge Challof, Mike was an integral part of Woody's 1980's 'Herds,' appearing on numerous concerts, festivals, recordings, and club gigs totaling over one thousand performances worldwide. During the past decade Mike has continued as the road manager and personnel director of the Woody Herman Orchestra. A resident of Fort Lauderdale Florida, Mike is active as a guest soloist, clinician and educator.
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