World Saxophone Quartet

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World Saxophone Quartet 2007 (left to right: David Murray, Tony Kofi , Oliver Lake and Hamiet Bluiett. Photo: Andy Newcombe)

The World Saxophone Quartet was founded in 1977 by the jazz saxophonists Hamiet Bluiett , Julius Hemphill , Oliver Lake and David Murray as a saxophone quartet. In the line-up with mostly two alto, one tenor and one baritone saxophone, they try to achieve a sound spectrum similar to that of a classic string quartet . However, the musicians also use other instruments and - especially in later productions - also play with percussionists (such as Jack DeJohnette ) and sometimes with bassists. Smaller groups break out of the quartet during a performance (for trio, duo and solo pieces). In the beginning only self-written compositions were performed, later concept albums were created that dealt with the work of Duke Ellington or soul music , for example .

The first concert of the quartet was organized by the music teacher and saxophonist Kidd Jordan in New Orleans; The formation was on tour in Europe for the first time in 1978, where it first appeared at the Moers Festival , in 1981 at the Zurich Jazz Festival and at all major festivals until the mid-1980s. After Hemphill left, Arthur Blythe joined the ensemble, but was later replaced by Eric Person , then James Spaulding and John Purcell . Kidd Jordan was the WSQ Guest of Honor at their 2009 concert at the Banlieues Bleues Festival in France.

For recordings, the quartet line-up was expanded to include musicians such as Ronnie Burrage (1996), Jack DeJohnette (1998), D. D. Jackson (1998), Craig Harris , Matt Garrison and Billy Bang (2003). The quartet also performed with David Murray's M'Bizo (featuring Pinise Saul ).

Discography (selection)

  • 1979: Steppin 'with the World Saxophone Quartet (Black Saint / Soul Note)
  • 1981: WSQ (Black Saint)
  • 1982: Revue (Black Saint)
  • 1984: Live in Zurich (Black Saint)
  • 1986: Live at Brooklyn Academy of Music (Black Saint)
  • 1986: Plays Duke Ellington (Nonesuch)
  • 1987: Dances and Ballads (Nonesuch)
  • 1989: Rhythm and Blues (Elektra / Musician)
  • 1991: Metamorphosis (Elektra Nonesuch)
  • 1994: Breath of Life (Elektra Nonesuch, with Tarik Shah )
  • 1994: Moving Right Along (Black Saint)
  • 1996: Four Now (Justin Time; with percussionists Chief Bey, Mor Thiam and Mar Gueye)
  • 1996: Takin 'It 2 the Next Level (Justin Time)
  • 1998: Selim Sivad, a Tribute to Miles Davis (Justin Time)
  • 1999: M'Bizo (Justin Time)
  • 2000: Requiem for Julius (Justin Time)
  • 2001: 25th Anniversity: the New Chapter (Justin Time)
  • 2002: Steppenwolf (Justin Time)
  • 2004: Experience (Justin Time)
  • 2006: Political Blues (Justin Time)
  • 2011: Yes We Can (Jazz Workshop)

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