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Music played by ensembles comprising exclusively by saxophones became a phenomenon in Jazz with the World Saxophone Quartet.
The group was founded in 1977 and comprised Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Hamiet Bluiett and David Murray. Together they extended the frontiers of music with their unique journey into free improvisations flavoured by R & B, funk and South African music.
Although some original members have returned to the realm of the ancestors, the group continues to flourish.
In 2010 Michael Pagan wrote programmatic music for the Colorado Saxophone Quintet. The composer’s Preludes and Fugues was an epic album in which musicians doffed their hats to the contrapuntal music “invented” by Johann Sebastian Bach.
There is power and nobility in all of the music played here. Remarkably each of the pieces are original compositions; each going to show how these remarkable musicians have absorbed the whole history of music, which now gushes like a mighty river from the bells of their respective saxophones. It is a breathtaking recital from end to end.
In sheer colour and variety, in the depth of its characterisation and the exceptional range and refinement of the musicianship the artists impart a monumental stature to these works.
Soli are brief and when undertaken there is always a sense that ornamentation is never for its own sake. Ensemble playing is always brimming with genius.