Saxophone Quartet

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,217
Location
Surrey, UK
#21
Tomorrow is the first meeting of a new saxophone quartet that I have brought together. I'm doing it now partly because my two function bands have recently stopped and also because I have managed to get my collection of quartet arrangements back from long term loan to another friend.

We all know each other from big band and it should be fun. I am playing baritone and we have the standard SATB line-up but the possibility of doubling could allow us to do AATB or various other combinations.

I normally play a bright Lawton mouthpiece on bari for big band, but am going to try an old Selmer Solosit to help blend with the others. It's got a rich and flexible sound and can do the jazz things as well as classical.

At the moment we are thinking of rehearsing once a month, just for fun rather than with a view to performing, but you never know what it might lead to. For the first rehearsal we are blowing through these arrangements:
  • A Very First Saxophone Quartet Book - Colin Cowles
  • Birdland (Zawinul) arr. Zdenko Ivanusic
  • Love is Here to Stay (George Gershwin) arr. Bill Holcombe
  • Reflections (Monk) arr. Steve Slagle
  • Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte (Ravel) arr. Jeffrey Wilson
  • Jelly Roll (Mingus) arr. Frank Reinshagen
We don't have a name yet, but will try to avoid some dreadful pun.

Rhys
 
Last edited:

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,173
Location
The Malverns, Worcs
#22
If you should find you have a spare name, maybe one particularly suited to an all-female SATB sax quartet (with percussion) could you send it our way...we have formed a new quartet and are still nameless!
Thanks x
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
23,046
Location
Cheshire UK
#24
We don't have a name yet, but will try to avoid some dreadful pun
If you should find you have a spare name, maybe one particularly suited to an all-female SATB sax quartet (with percussion) could you send it our way...we have formed a new quartet and are still nameless!
Thanks x
You should each start a thread, keeps members quiet for hours coming up with names :)

Jx
 
Messages
381
Location
Southwest of France
#28
I normally play a bright Lawton mouthpiece on bari for big band, but am going to try an old Selmer Solosit to help blend with the others. It's got a rich and flexible sound and can do the jazz things as well as classical.
FWIW, I've started using one of my Lawtons (plain number) on my Conn despite having previously found it way too loud. For some reason, I can manage now and use it in all settings (and on both the Selmer and the Conn), be it big band, combo, quartet or classical music (sort of) too... It took a bit to tame it but it's really comfortable to be able to use the same setup (same reeds as well) no matter what.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,400
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
#29
Last Summer the quartet with five, that I mentioned above, had a go at Singelee's Premier Quatuor Op65. I believe it was the first classical work specifically written for saxes. I wouldn't say the end result was brilliant but we enjoyed it and it was very different.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,217
Location
Surrey, UK
#30
Our new quartet had a good first rehearsal this morning and it was a lot of fun.

I learned quite a lot, some of which I should have remembered from 20 years ago when I last played baritone in a sax quartet.
  • I need a towel to catch all the drool. At big band I just drain it on the carpeted floor in the hall, but this rehearsal was in a room with a wood floor in my own house
  • I really need to practice my bari part on my own with a metronome, before we get together to rehearse
  • Often the hard bits are where the tempo or meter changes or there is a big pause
  • For the jazzier arrangements with improvised sections, the backings really have to be rock solid in terms of rhythm
  • Everyone really has to listen
  • Although the Selmer Soloist mouthpiece worked fine, I might try one of my Lawton pieces, as suggested by @Chilli
  • It's a lot of fun - even better than the work I could/should have been doing
We all enjoyed it enough to want to do it on a monthly basis and build our repertoire. But no name yet.

Rhys
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,217
Location
Surrey, UK
#32
Our quartet have our second ever concert coming up on Saturday and I have a couple of questions for anyone with experience of performing in a saxophone quartet.

Would you play standing or sitting ? We will be playing with music on stands but only performing for about 25 minutes.

How do you prefer to set up the quartet (e.g. which of SATB next to each other, say left to right from the audience perspective) and why ?

How do you prefer to count in / start the pieces ?

Rhys
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,173
Location
The Malverns, Worcs
#33
Our quartet have our second ever concert coming up on Saturday and I have a couple of questions for anyone with experience of performing in a saxophone quartet.

Would you play standing or sitting ? We will be playing with music on stands but only performing for about 25 minutes.

How do you prefer to set up the quartet (e.g. which of SATB next to each other, say left to right from the audience perspective) and why ?

How do you prefer to count in / start the pieces ?

Rhys
We always stand, but keep the music stands low enough for your faces to be seen.
We stand ABTS from the audience looking at us.
It puts the Bari (who is usually holding the beat) in the centre of the group and therefore easier for everyone else to hear.
We do not count in. We have always practiced that whoever has the opening note takes a breath and goes for it. We make a note on each piece of who will start the piece, who leads at RITs or tempo changes, usually indicated by a beat being marked by movement of the sax, or an elbow.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,217
Location
Surrey, UK
#35
Do what's comfortable for you. We always played seated.
I think we probably will play seated as some of us are getting on in years (not me you understand) and there would be some comedy height differences from tallest to shortest.

But I like the look of some of the sax quartets on YouTube who perform standing.


Rhys
 
Messages
41
Location
Savannah Ga
#39
Tomorrow is the first meeting of a new saxophone quartet that I have brought together. I'm doing it now partly because my two function bands have recently stopped and also because I have managed to get my collection of quartet arrangements back from long term loan to another friend.

We all know each other from big band and it should be fun. I am playing baritone and we have the standard SATB line-up but the possibility of doubling could allow us to do AATB or various other combinations.

I normally play a bright Lawton mouthpiece on bari for big band, but am going to try an old Selmer Solosit to help blend with the others. It's got a rich and flexible sound and can do the jazz things as well as classical.

At the moment we are thinking of rehearsing once a month, just for fun rather than with a view to performing, but you never know what it might lead to. For the first rehearsal we are blowing through these arrangements:
  • A Very First Saxophone Quartet Book - Colin Cowles
  • Birdland (Zawinul) arr. Zdenko Ivanusic
  • Love is Here to Stay (George Gershwin) arr. Bill Holcombe
  • Reflections (Monk) arr. Steve Slagle
  • Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte (Ravel) arr. Jeffrey Wilson
  • Jelly Roll (Mingus) arr. Frank Reinshagen
We don't have a name yet, but will try to avoid some dreadful pun.

Rhys
How great, I miss doing sax ensemble groups. I’ve been thinking of starting a group here in the Savannah area if I can find some players. Good luck with your group and keep us posted!!
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
Messages
6,451
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#40
There is no better way to develop your musicianship than playing in small ensembles. You are completely exposed as when playing a solo, but at the same time you have to match tone, pitch, style, and dynamics with other players while at the same time playing the music expressively. You need to "over learn" your own part in order to be free to listen deeply to all of the other voices at all times. It is a tall order, but it can be well worth the effort with the right combination of players.
 
Top Bottom