World Saxophone Quartet

Point of No Return

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Point of No Return, the debut recording by World Saxophone Quartet, has been reissued on CD, and is quite a screamfest. Although there are a few written-out passages that are quieter, this live set generally consists of intense and violent improvisations. The main piece, the 23-and-a-half minute "Scared Sheetless," is essentially a series of unaccompanied solos by the saxmen (Oliver Lake on alto and soprano, altoist Julius Hemphill, tenor saxophonist David Murray, and baritonist Hamiett Bluiett), and despite their obvious passion, and the adoration of the audience, much of the playing is quite tedious. In future years, World Saxophone Quartet would better temper their free solos with inventive writing, but this early set is pretty self-indulgent.

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