Donna Lee Saxophone Quartet: Four To Go
Four To Go
Donna Lee Saxophone Quartet
Mellow (Zivaldo 032008)
Composed by Zdenko Ivanuši?.
Recorded: Zagreb, Croatia, May 11-12, 2008
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
The Croatia-based Donna Lee Saxophone Quartet (DLSQ) was formed in 1999 by altoists Zdenko Ivanuši? and Andrej Henigman, and has had the same personnel since 2001. While they have been known to play charts of their predecessors the World Saxophone Quartet and the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, over time they have developed their own distinctive identity and sound.
On this follow-up to their first CD, Four Odd, it becomes apparent that baritonist Suša's role is just as important to the DLSQ's overall success as were those of Hamiet Bluiett and Jim Hartog, respectively, to the aforementioned a cappella sax quartets – providing essential basslines and rhythms. Ivanuši? is the DLSQ's strongest soloist and main composer, a vibrant player heard at his best on his own infectious "Four to Go." Suša's winding bassline leads to Ivanuši?'s articulation of the prancing theme. A catchy vamp by the two altos and tenor serves as the bridge. Ivanuši?'s stop-and-start solo leaves space for an accompanying line by the other saxophonists to take the forefront, as his velvety tone accentuates his intricate and lively post-bop runs. After Ivanuši? revisits the theme, with the contrapuntal backing of his bandmates, the vamp/bridge creates a perfect resolution. There is an easeful mastery at work here that simply must be heard.
Reviewer: Scott Albin