Monday, June 16, 2014

The Miami Saxophone Quartet, Four of A Kind, Live in Concert

I don't suppose I need to wax on in detail about how the World Saxophone Quartet and then the Rova outfit made of the saxophone foursome an institution in the jazz world. It happened. Since then understandably there have been others. One of them, a good one, is the Miami Saxophone Quartet.

They have a live album out that shows them in a very full light. Four of A Kind (Fourtitude 005W) gives us a generous set of music. It is the quartet plus a rhythm team. The quartet consists of Gary Keller, Gary Lindsay, Mike Brignola (baritone, as the family tradition would have it), and Ed Calle. Lindsay's compositions and arrangements make up most of this set, with the exception of two-thirds of their "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" arrangement, which is Ed Calle's doing.

This is their fifth album. They have a tempered maturity in their blend that reflects how long they have been at it. A couple of jazz standards--Brubeck's "It's A Raggy Waltz", Ralph Burn's "Early Autumn" and Duke's "Sophisticated Lady" --serve as good foils to the original music, which has harmonically lush beauty.

There is an impeccably musical singularity to this group by now which is captured brightly and vividly on this album. With the rhythm an integral part of the proceedings it is like a mini-big band at times. There is quite decent soloing all around, too.

This is very solid, engaging jazz with no attempt to go for the formulaic ploy for radio play. They stick to the music that defines them best, an honest sort of sophisticated mainstream with arrangements that perk up your ears.

Yeah, Solid! Recommended.

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