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Moscow Sax Quartet: The Jazznost Tour

Back to the woodshed, Birdmen of the world! This quintet of Russian saxophonists could give Supersax the shakes. Its ensemble work (including, in some cases, harmonized Charlie Parker solo transcriptions) on “Yardbird Suite,” “Parker’s Mood,” “Donna Lee,” “Chasing the Bird” and “Bloomdido” takes off, soars and lands faultlessly. Besides tunes by or associated with Bird, the group plays other renowned saxophonic items: the Herman band’s “Four Brothers,” the Benny Carter/Coleman Hawkins/ Django Reinhardt-immortalized “Crazy Rhythm” and “I Got Rhythm” (shades of Bird as well as Duke’s Ben Webster-powered “Cottontail”). These performances are no academic exercise; they swing through and through, including the musicians’ own improvised solos.

The saxophonists include Vladimir Zaremba (the group’s founder and leader, who plays tenor, soprano, clarinet and bass clarinet), Alexander Boychuk (alto, soprano, clarinet), Gennady Pakhtusov (tenor, flute), Oleg Ageyev (alto, soprano) and Vladimir Konibolotsky (baritone, clarinet). The group also includes pianist Vladimir Soloviov, bassist Igor Shestov, drummer Alexander Churikov and vocalist Lyubov Zazulina. This mission from Moscow is sure to be a hit wherever it performs.

Originally Published