World Saxophone Quartet

Yes We Can

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Adopting a campaign slogan for an album title, World Saxophone Quartet pays tribute to the election of Barack Obama as president on this live date, notably on the title tune, the disc's most lyrical selection, which features traces of "Hail to the Chief" in the solo. As ever, baritone Hamiet Bluiett holds down the rhythm and the bottom, allowing fellow founding member David Murray and his compatriots to take off on their altos on the extended tracks making up the rest of the CD. Like competing ghosts of John Coltrane, they sometimes achieve near cacophony in spots, occasionally seeming to imitate the sound of a herd of angry elephants. Just as often, however, one player will be given an extended solo, usually toward the end of track, so that, for example, the sounds heard in the second half of "The River Niger" test the limits of what can be emitted from a saxophone. World Saxophone Quartet is always a challenging listen, even after more than 30 years of avant-garde playing, but the results can be exhilarating, and they seem to be to the enthusiastic audience that whoops and hollers at this show.

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