Miami Saxophone Quartet Live!
Four of South Florida's top saxophonists, Gary Keller, Gary Lindsay, Ed Calle, and Mike Brignola have created a signature sound unique to saxophone quartets. Led by Lindsay's award winning writing, the group explores the realms of chamber music, jazz, pop, Latin, and R&B performing originals as well as their own arragements of songs by artists as diverse as John Coltrane, Paul Simon, Pat Metheny, Thad Jones, and Chucho Valdez. The quartet appears frequently with special guests, including the likes of Arturo Sandoval, Glen Basham, Chuck Bergeron, David Hardman, Phillip Strange and Richard Bravo. Hear for your self what the critics have been raving about!
"The MSQ is very much into rich tonal colors and intricate harmonic schemes interlaced with suitable improvisations... There's nothing on this well-designed and superbly performed concert date that is less than rewarding. If saxophone quartets push your button or light your fire, you can't go wrong with this one."
Jack Bowers, allaboutjazz.com
"When I first heard the Miami Saxophone Quartet's 2002 debut album, Take Four Giant Steps, I was knocked out by their sound. Hearing their new release, Live! (Fourtitude Records), I'm more than Knocked out. I feel like I'm in the presence of the Divine..."
Stephen Fratallone, Jazz Connection Magazine
"Beautiful arrangements and playing on all!"
Jim Wilke, Jazz After Hours (Public Radio International)
Liner Notes by Gary Lindsay (Black Bottom notes by Gary Keller)
Pat Metheny wrote "Sunlight" in 1990 while in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and recorded it on one of my favorite albums, Secret Story. The initial concept for this arrangement came about when I imagined the melody played by David Sanborn, thus the alto lead. I approached this arrangement with an aggressive fusion vibe in mind -- sans rhythm section I tried to keep a constant motion in the parts, emulating a rhythm groove. Gary (K) displays his blues roots, after which Ed takes up the second statement of the melody. Mike is kept busy alternating between the "bass" groove and other moving lines. Ed is featured on an extended solo and, after a recap of the head, blows again at the end of the tune (any wonder why he's on hundreds of cd's?). The quartet's attention to dynamics and time proved essential in pulling this piece off.
I first heard this Latin classic by Chucho Valdes on a recording featuring Arturo Sandoval and Paquito D'Rivera. I decided to feature the guys on doubles: Keller on flute, myself on clarinet, Ed on soprano sax and Mike on bass clarinet. The introduction combines these four diverse timbres in a baroque-like contrapuntal style.Our featured soloist Richard Bravo enters on bongos at the first head statement; as the arrangement builds, we switch to saxophones and Richard switches to congas. Ed solos, followed by Richard's extended percussion improvisation. The saxes wrap it up
Still Crazy After All These Years
This Paul Simon classic is arranged for alto, two tenors and bari. I imagined the saxophones as four vocalists, much in the style of groups like the Four Tops or the Spinners. Ed is the lead singer on this one and he can sure tell a story! The alto handles the melody at the bridge, and solos over the same section later on. Ed blows over the coda and wraps it up with a short cadenza.
A Child Is Born
I couldn't imagine the A Child is Born without the delicate timbres of an acoustic piano. The piece begins with an impromptu introduction by Phillip Strange in the form of a "re-composition" of the Thad Jones' classic ballad; note his balance of inner lines and amazing subtleties. After hearing a recording of Mike's consummate bass clarinet artistry with the Woody Herman Orchestra, I decided to make him the co-feature on this arrangement. Woodwind shadings are provided by Gary on flute and clarinet, Ed on soprano sax and clarinet, and myself on lead clarinet. I wrote the clarinet choir soli near the end because it's fun to play fast, and these guys can!
Scenes from the 'Hood
One of the most inspiring events in my personal musical history was playing the show West Side Story. Scenes from the 'Hood, an original composition for saxophone quartet, bass and drums, was inspired by Leonard Bernstein's amazing score. The two "main characters" in this piece are the bass (Chuck Bergeron) and the drums (Dave Hardman). Both are featured throughout, acting and reacting to the soundscape created by the saxophones. Dave and Chuck deserve composition credit for their inspired, spontaneous creations.
Black Bottom Stomp
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton's boastful claim to be the "inventor of jazz" was not entirely off the mark. At the turn of the century Morton was borrowing from ragtime, popular dance, blues, minstrel repertory, field hollers, hymns, spirituals and light classical pieces to formulate his own concoctions -- just when such music was beginning to be called "jazz." Written in 1919, Black Bottom Stomp was influenced by the "Black Bottom" dance, a popular and rather racy fad at the time. Morton performed the piece both as a solo pianist and with his band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Fred Sturm's arrangement exemplifies the character of early jazz still close to its ragtime roots.
When I began work on this arrangement of John Coltrane's Giant Steps I did not have a clear vision of how to approach writing for the Miami Saxophone Quartet -- in fact, I had a better idea of what I didn't want to write for this instrumentation than of what I did. Reliance on unaccompanied saxophone solis did not appeal to me, nor did the avante garde. I also wanted to venture away from some of the more fundamental principles that I teach in my writing classes at the University of Miami. Ultimately I attempted to emphasize our unique personalities through the concept of four independent voices, a concept more akin to string quartet writing. The result is at once a very simple and complex piece that combines the talents of four performers whose individual experiences span virtually all styles of the musical spectrum.
Thanks to Mike, Gary and Ed - your musical gifts inspire me.