Windmill Saxophone Quartet: This n’ That

The Windmill Saxophone Quartet are four reeds playing without any rhythm section or other accompaniment. The group creates an astonishing palette of sound from the unorthodox instrumentation.

The quartet includes Clayton Englar, Jesse Meman, Ken Plant, and Tom Monroe, and each plays a variety of members of the saxophone family, as well as clarinets and flutes. They were quite active on the Washington, DC, area scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s. This album, just released on Pierre Sprey’s Global Village label, is a 1990 recording.

The group’s arrangements are inventive and full of panache, with a dash of the experimental avant-garde, both reworking jazz standards and including clever original pieces. Notwithstanding the absence of a rhythm section, the quartet pulls off a dynamic presentation that is full of forward movement and sustains interest.