New Century Saxophone Quartet: Somewhere

Track

Somewhere

Group

New Century Saxophone Quartet

CD

Main Street USA (Channel Crossings CCS 9896)

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Musicians:

Michael Stephenson (soprano sax), James Boatman (alto sax), Steven Pollock (tenor sax), Brad Hubbard (baritone sax),

Steve Kirkman (percussion)

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Composed by Leonard Bernstein

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Recorded: Renswoude, The Netherlands, November 1995

Albumcovernewcenturysaxophonequartet-mainstreetusa

Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Balanced on the cusp between classical and jazz, the New Century Saxophone Quartet seems able to syncopate or go "pure" at will, the four gents and some extra percussion often sounding like a whole orchestra as in the group's 1995 album of (other-than-Copland) Americana, which extrapolates and builds on tunes from Porgy and Bess and Morton Gould, as well as much of West Side Story. Nearly all of altoist James Boatman's arrangements scintillate and surprise (from cha-chas to oompahs, and vaudeville to the blues), but for sheer beauty none shines more brightly than "Somewhere."

Any jazz here is in the ear of the behearer only, as the tune is played as a hushed and heart-soothing ballad throughout, the only syncopation coming in some extended, out-of-tempo pauses near the end. The New Century's "Somewhere" begins as a yearning song from the blended saxes and near-silent vibraphone, then gradually becomes a contrapuntal dialogue mostly between alto and baritone (the latter going both above and to the bottom of its normal range), finally rising to the grand climax of the album and maybe Bernstein's score as well, as the hopeful upper voices sing like flutes while the low sax and timpani sound Tony's death knell.

Replete with complexity and invention, not to mention gorgeous playing throughout, there's definitely a time and place for these guys, somewhere.

Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher

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  • 1 Emma // Jun 16, 2009 at 08:15 AM
    its very wierd lol i like it thank you xx
  • 2 Emma // Jun 16, 2009 at 08:15 AM
    its very wierd lol i like it thank you xx
  • 3 Emma // Jun 16, 2009 at 08:15 AM
    its very wierd lol i like it thank you xx