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Audio, 2004-04, ocena - muzyka * * * * 1/2/ realizacja * * * *
'...Występ w chicagowskim klubie w 1999r, Materiał 'dojrzewał' na półce archiwum zanim został wydany, a proces dojrzewania bardzo dobrze mu zrobił, bo mamy do czynienia ze słynnym zespołem w wyjątkowo dobrej formie. John Purcell, który zastąpił zmarłego Juliusa Hemphilla, osiągnął pełny stopień integrowania z pozostałą rójką saksofonowych mistrzów. Po niezwykle melodyjnym (jak na nich ) 'The Crossing', w kolejnych utworach atmosferę zaburzyły bezkompromisowe pojedynki (jak w wulkanicznej wersji 'Giant Step', lecz po kilku odlotowych frazach muzycy wracali do charakterystycznych polifonii pełnych romantycznego żaru i unikalnej harmonii....'

Editor's info:
When a concert performance doubles as a live recording session, the music-making is bound to be affected. At best, the musicians rise to the occasion, at worst, they choke.Monday night's historic set by the World Saxophone Quartet at Steppenwolf Theatre belonged to the positive side of the equation, for this band produced one of its most dynamic performances since the death of WSQ reedist/composer Julius Hemphill (in 1995). In fact, the recording that results from this show, to be released on the Justin Time label, could mark a turning point in the evolution of a great ensemble. Any quartet that has been operating for roughly two decades is bound to be rattled by the departure of one of its members. The Modern Jazz Quartet, for instance, never recovered from losing drummer Connie Kay, whose unique tin-tinnabulation proved irreplaceable after his death in 1994. The WSQ, however, has chosen well in adding reedist John Purcell to the mix. Beyond the obvious intellectual rigor of his compositions, Purcell brought a distinctly melancholic, often introspective voice to the ensemble. In so doing, he couldn't help but alter the tone and tenor of the quartet, even taking into account the longstanding contributions of reedists David Murray, Oliver Lake and Hamiet Bluiett. It would be going a bit far to say that Purcell added timbral subtlety, melodic fervor and cerebral acuity to an ensemble that already had achieved a degree of each, but Purcell certainly underscored these facets. The prime example was the evening's centerpiece, Li'l Poky, an extended work in which the composer depicted the clashes of ideology between Native Americans and invading Europeans in the era of Pocahontas (the title character). Even apart from these programmatic themes, however, Li'l Poky overflowed with complex musical ideas, alluringly stated. In ensemble passages, the piece offered intricate part-writing, tightly drawn harmonies and more motivic information than the ear possibly could absorb in a single hearing. But the very density of this music, as well as the players' ability to make every line ring out clearly against the others, made this a tour de force for reeds. The solos, too, proved brainy but charismatic, particularly Purcell's plaintive phrases and microtonal pitches on soprano sax, Lake's blues-drenched runs on alto and Bluiett's buzz-tone lines on baritone sax (with Bluiett somehow yielding high pitches and low ones at once).But this was just one striking performance in an evening filled with them. Bluiett's high-speed, bathed-in-dissonance arrangement of John Coltrane's Giant Steps, Murray's unabashedly melodic version of Taj Mahal's Sunrise and Purcell's refined tone-painting evoking Sweden's northern lights pointed to musicians who still have a great deal to say. With Purcell now part of the band and the other players apparently recommitted to it, the WSQ might be able to keep blowing for another couple decades. Here's hoping. Howard Reich Arts Critic Chicago TribuneMarch 3, 1999


Justin Time (CA)
World Saxophone Quartet
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