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June 2001

Brooklyn Sax Quartet
The Way of the Saxophone
Innova Recordings

The borough of Brooklyn may have lost (and may still be lamenting) its beloved Dodgers, but its residents could do worse than seeking this fo'tet-David Bindman, Sam Furnace, Fred Ho and Chris Jonas-to rally behind.

Like the many other sax-minus-rhythm-section ensembles, The Brooklyn Sax Quartet's compositions and arrangements fully feature the instruments' rich timbres, but as titles such as the opening "Climate Conditions" (written by Bindman) and baritone man Fred Ho's "Hipster Harvey" delightfully prove, the aggregation is also gifted at weaving rich rhythmic and melodic passages throughout.

It's difficult not to think of Weather Report's maxim-"We always solo and we never solo"-when listening to The Way of the Saxophone's six tracks, for like the stitch work of a master tailor, the lines of improv and composition are wonderfully blurred. In addition to the titles by Bindman and Ho, the CD also features fresh interpretations of Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood" and Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz." The former contains and reveals emotional depths and harmonic subtleties not always present in modern readings of the classic, while the Waller tune cascades humorously along, buttressed by Ho's rumbling baritone and Chris Jonas' tart soprano.

Originally published in June 2001
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