Formed in 1984 the Delta Saxophone Quartet is one of the UK's leading contemporary music groups.
The quartet has been broadcast on many television and radio stations worldwide including; BBC, ABC, Radio New Zealand, Dutch Radio 6, Rai 3, WDR, Taiwan TV, Moscow TV, Uzbekistan State TV, Star TV Hong Kong, DPRK (N.Korea) State TV plus numerous European and US internet radio feeds.
The DSQ has performed in a variety of European and Asian cities such as, London, Edinburgh, Moscow, Tashkent, Samarkand, Ferghana, Taipei, Khaosiung, Taichung, Perugia, Catania, Ljubljana, Rovinj, Beijing, Brandenburg, Groeningen, Sankt Pölten, Hong Kong and Pyongyang. Extensive tours have also been made in Austria, The Netherlands, Uzbekistan, Taiwan and the UK. The quartet has also been featured in numerous International Festivals, for example, London Jazz Festival, Meltdown Festival, Etnafest, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Brighton International Festival, Steiriche Herbst, Gandusiana Music Festival , Etnafest, Zomer Jazz Fiets Tour, Sounds Of The Dolomites Festival.
The DSQ has received International acclaim for its 5 solo CD releases, with Minimal Tendencies receiving 5 stars from the BBC Music Magazine and Dedicated to you..but you weren't listening being selected as album of the year in a variety of jazz and rock magazines.
The DSQ has been involved in the performance of over 500 new works especially composed for the quartet. It continues its association today with Kingston University, London, where it was the Ensemble In Residence from 2003-2008.
"Top notch musicianship and imagination" Downbeat USA
"String quartet like levels of sophistication" Sydney Morning Herald
''There is too much wonderful music found here to mention it all and at one hour, it is consistently fascinating..''. - BLG' Downtown Music Gallery, New York
(The DSQ is) one of Europe's most distinguished new music ensembles.,The Guardian
Facing Death FMR RECORDS FMRCD 104-C0502
All of the music featured on this new CD from the Delta Quartet has a link to the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, and the result is a programme of music which is styilistically very coherent, whilst allowing each piece to maintain its own identity. Graham Fitkin's 'Stub', is a fast, furious, driving and articulate opening which sets the pace for the music to come. Javier Alvarez and Joe Duddell contribute intriguing and quirky pieces to the CD.
Christopher Fox's 'Concurrent Air' provides a perfectly placed (and paced) antidote to what is, for me, the crowning achievement of this disc which is the title track, Andriessen's 'Facing Death', an 18 minute romp through Charlie Parker riffs. Here the Deltas harden up the quartet's sound and approach to the relentless be-bop lines that this huge work is structured around and pace this work expertly - no mean feat in such a large scale work!
The CD is stylishly presented, and the Delta's performance maintains great energy throughout. The liner notes struggle to find a suitable label for the style of music on the CD - when the music and performance are as strong as this, who needs labels!? Buy it!
Musician Magazine Dec. 2002
(Rob Buckland is the leader op the Apollo Saxophone Quartet & professor of Saxophone at the Northern College Of Music) (UK)
DELTA SAXOPHONE QUARTET
Facing Death (FMR) ••••
The Four members of the excellent Delta Saxophone Quartet share a musical pedigree which takes in both classical music and jazz (among other things), and have a common interest in performing the work of contemporary composers, rather than mining the already limited historical classical repertoire of music for their instruments (one each of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone).
The centrepiece of this disc is Louis Andriessen's wonderful, fast-moving 'Facing Death', inspired by his love for Charlie Parker, but Graham Fitkin's relentlessly energised 'Stub' and Joe Duddell's more diverse 'Circle Square' are equally compelling. Shorter pieces by Javier Alvarez and Chris Fox complete an exciting collection.
The List 4-18th July 2002 (Scotland/UK)
John L Walters On the edge
Share and Share alike
A bunch of saxophonists and the biggest names in bossa nova make two unusual collaborations.
A century ago, the saxophone was seen as a violin you could blow - only useful for playing the stringy bits in marching bands. Jazz soon changed that, but the evolution of the saxophone quartet has been slow compared with that of the string quartet. Facing Death (FMR), the new CD by the Delta Saxophone Quartet, is a good indicator of recent progress, thanks in a large part, to the Delta's own efforts in commissioning and touring new repertoir.
The line-up - soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes - can be brash and loud without amplification. They can sound hushed and sensitive, too, but rarely cool and beautiful like a string ensemble. When the Deltas are in full flight, as on the rapid rhythmic figures of Graham Fitkin's Stub, you become aware of the mechanical nature of the saxophone's rods, levers, keys and pads, and the physical effort and precision required to tongue short, repeated notes. At one point they sound like a wheezy old squeeze-box; Accordeon de Roto Corazon, by the under-rated Javier Alvarez, takes the analogy further. Christopher Fox's Concurrent Air goes to another extreme: long, quiet, slow-moving parts wrap around each other, creating distant traces of Londonderry Air. But you neber forget that the music is made by blowing: the physicality of the saxophone is what makes it exciting.
Louis Andriessen's Facing Death is based on a bunch of Charlie Parker tunes, quoted and worked into a tangle of quasi-minimal counterpoint, some of which is lifted from the De Stijl section of Andriessen's De Materie. The Deltas handle it brilliantly, adding enough insider knowledge to make bebop phrased flow, but with an understanding of Andriessen's hard-edged style that resists any temptation to make the piece sweet or overly jazzy. This is a danger confronted daily by sax ensembles: facing death by syrup.
While the Delta Saxophone Quartet hammer at your front door, Vinicius Cantuaria wanders in at the back and sits quietly in the kitchen......... (the article continues with a review of the CD Vinicius Cantuaria)
John L Walters.
June 28. 2002 (UK)