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Yes We Can

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Audio CD, January 25, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Recorded March 28, 2009 during Discover Us! at Kino Babylon, Berlin. Featuring: Hamiet Bluiett (baritone saxophone, clarinet); Kidd Jordan (alto saxophone);
David Murray (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet); James Carter (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone).


A small-group celebration of the saxophone that's been an avant-garde institution since 1976, the latest recording featuring original members David Murray and Hamiet Bluiett stays in a similarly topical (if more upbeat) mind-set as 2006's 'Political Blues.' Now with Kidd Jordan and James Carter on board, this fiery live set is a swinging, soaring, funkily energetic affair. --LA Times, Chris Barton, February 2, 2011

Fueled by the possibilities opened by Barack Obama's presidency, a buoyant World Saxophone Quartet delivers Yes We Can. It's an album full of great energy and intricacy from one of music's longest-running and best sax quartets. With a lineup that includes founding members Hamiet Bluiett and David Murray alongside Kidd Jordan and James Carter, this is a record for anyone who s ever tried to play the saxophone as well as those who love music with a challenge and an edge. Yes We Can was recorded live for the 2009 Discover Us! concert series at Kino Babylon in Berlin, Germany. It kicks off with a fierce round of improvisation on Bluiett's composition 'Hattie Wall.' Bluiett lays down a firm bass-line foundation with his bari sax, while Jordan, Murray and Carter blow over-the-top solos. Jordan's 'The River Niger' serves as an avant-garde tour de force of weaving harmonies and amazing solos. Murray wrote four pieces for the set, none more important than the title track. It's a beautiful, bluesy piece with fantastic harmonization between Murray, Jordan and Bluiett. Carter takes the lead burning through the tune's melody and themes on soprano saxophone. Two-thirds of the way through the tune, the other members of the band sit out to let Carter deliver a powerful solo packed with screeches, squalls and quotes from a variety of politically charged tunes, including 'Hail To The Chief.' Yes We Can is a statement of optimism for our first African-American president, but it's also a statement on what can be done with the saxophone and a statement on adventurous music. Yes, they can. --DownBeat, Frank Alkyer, February 2011

This latest World Saxophone Quartet lineup features charter members David Murray on tenor sax and bass clarinet and Hamiet Bluiett on baritone sax and clarinet. New Orleans legend Kidd Jordan fills in for alto saxophonist Oliver Lake, while the newest WSQ member, James Carter, takes over duties for John Purcell, who in turn had replaced charter WSQ member Julius Hemphill, who died in 1995.

They open this live set at Kino Babylon, a movie theater in Berlin, with Bluiett's energetic 'Hattie Wall,' a tune that has, since 1981, acted as a kind of WSQ theme song. With Bluiett setting the groove with a bouncing bari ostinato, the others are freed up to weave a dizzying latticework pattern of darting, jagged lines on top. In this two-tenor onslaught, Murray and Carter can hardly be distinguished, especially when they launch into simultaneous altissimo flights. Jordan s 'The River Niger' opens with some conversational blowing that sounds like bees buzzing around the hive, until the four fall into a powerful theme anchored by Bluiett's bari; Carter's solo soprano cadenza is particularly stirring here. Murray's title track, recorded just two months after President Obama's inauguration, is a soulful fanfare brimming with optimism that highlights Carter's uncanny virtuosity on soprano: just one of many horns that the Detroit native has mastered. Again, his dazzling cadenza at the end of the piece (containing a riff from 'Hail to the Chief') is an audacious crowd-pleaser.

Murray s moving close-harmony ballad, God of Pain, carries of requiem feel and showcases his signature feat of intense circular breathing and overblowing during an extended unaccompanied tenor solo. Bluiett breaks out some impressive clarinet chops on his gospel-tinged meditation The Guessing Game, which has Murray providing accompaniment on bass clarinet. Carter employs his tenor to deliver a shrieking salvo of multiphonics on Murray s Long March to Freedom, a potent piece that resolves to a hymnlike hush. The quartet closes out in furious fashion with a reprise of Hattie Wall, the perfect way to bookend this startling concert. --JazzTimes.com, Bill Milkowski, April 2011

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Hattie Wall
  2. The River Niger
  3. Yes We Can
  4. The God of Pain
  5. The Angel of Pain
  6. The Guessing Game
  7. Long March to Freedom

Product Details

Amazon's World Saxophone Quartet Store

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