University of Kentucky Mega-Sax Ensemble

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Rhythm Section

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Featuring jazz interspersed with a variety of rhythms from classical, rock, Latin, marches, and the blues, this album captures the University of Kentucky Mega-Sax Quartet both in live performance before a very appreciative audience and in the studio. The group has more than four members, with never more than four on stage or before the microphone at any one time. The players are readily interchangeable. The title of the album comes from Conte Candoli, who after hearing the group asserted that "it don't need no stinkin' rhythm section." With mentor, University of Kentucky jazz studies director, and altoist Miles Osland showing up on a few tracks, this quartet of student sax players is a significant rival to other similar groups like the World Saxophone Quartet, 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, and New York Saxophone Quartet. Too often university ensembles, while skilled technically, are unable to bring that "jazz feeling" to their performances because of their lack of experience. Not so in this case. That feeling is apparent both in individual solo work and in the ensemble playing. Baritone saxophone player Joshua Fedele gets nasty and funky on "Full English Breakfast." Bryan Murray's tenor dominates on a boisterous rendition of "The Nasty," written by Ed Jackson about and for the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet. Murray is joined by John Richardson's baritone for some stirring a capella sax work. The ensemble work is especially tight on a rock-driven "Folly." This tune was written by Mike Mower -- who is responsible for most of the music on this CD -- for his group Itchy Fingers. Larry Nelson's soprano gets most of the solo room here. The remaining tracks are also chocked full of attractive surprises and demonstrate that, with lavish application of imagination and talent, a CD devoted entirely to a single instrument can avoid being boring and boorish. This is music to listen to, not to dance by. It is intricate and demanding, and challenges the performers and listeners alike. Like the performers, listeners may want to use more than a single listening session to work through all the tracks on this album.

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