Saxophone Quartet

This is the instrumentation (saxophone, guitar, bass, drums) of the very first group I formed for my very first gig as a leader in 1978 (see the bio section for details). From the beginning, my conception of the band was as a vehicle to explore the best non-avant-garde jazz of the 1960s, along with the best non-fusion jazz of the ’70s.

The music of the current version of the quartet represents three decades of the development of this idea. Of all my bands, this one has the most difficult repertoire, with compositions by Chick Corea (Song of the Wind), Steve Swallow (Portsmouth Figurations), and Bill Evans (Fun Ride, Twelve Tone Tune Two), and others. To do this music justice requires a saxophonist with an incredible level of musicianship, willing to take the time to learn it well, and who knows the genre well. Even in New York this can be challenging to find, but luckily for me I've been able to play with two of the most amazing saxophonists in town, Donny McCaslin, and our current saxophonist, Chris Bacas, who has been with our group for about ten years so far.

As with most of my bands, the videos sound good, but the music on a typical gig is an order of magnitude higher, and the group keeps getting better as the years go by…

Personnel

Chris Bacas, saxophones

Tom Guarna, guitar

Thomson Kneedland, bass

Chuck Braman, drums

Alternate Personnel

Donny McCaslin, saxophones

Paul Bollenback, Pete McCann, Nate Radley, guitar

Noriko Ueda, Matt Clohsey, Evan Gregor, bass

Videos

Repertoire

Thelonious Monk:

Brake’s Sake

Brilliant Corners

Coming On The Hudson

Gallop’s Gallop

Introspection

Jackie-ing

Played Twice

Bill Evans:

Fun Ride

Loose Bloose

Re: Person I Knew

Twelve Tone Tune Two

Keith Jarrett:

Le Mistral

Memories Of Tomorrow

Chick Corea:

Bleeding Orchid

Song of the Wind

Larry Young:

Paris Eyes

Ritha

Various Composers:

Agua & Vinho (Egberto Gismonti)

The Bat (Pat Metheny)

Ballad For Billy (Leni Stern)

Black Narcissus (Joe Henderson)

Cyclic Episode (Sam Rivers)

Dark Light (Mike Nock)

De Pois Do Amor O Vazio (Wayne Shorter)

Elm (Richie Beirach)

Foolish Door (John Abercrombie)

Moon Germs (Joe Farrell)

Paul’s Pal (Sonny Rollins)

Portsmouth Figurations (Steve Swallow)

My Other Bands

Trumpet-Tenor Saxophone Quintet  A quintet drawing inspiration primarily from the brilliantly inventive compositions of trumpeter Kenny Dorham, saxophonist Joe Henderson and others featured on classic Blue Note recordings of the 1960s.

Guitar Trio/Quartet  With a front-line featuring either one or two guitarists, this band performs the music of my favorite composers whose music lends itself to guitar, such as John Abercrombie and Pat Metheny, with a special focus on rarely-performed compositions of Thelonious Monk.

Vibraphone Trio/Quartet  With a front-line consisting of vibraphone, either alone or supported by guitar, this group explores rarely-performed jazz, standards, and Brazilian popular music compositions that lend themselves to the sound of the vibraphone.

Piano Trio  This group explores some of the very best and most rarely-performed compositions of Bill Evans and Antonio Carlos Jobim, among others great jazz composers.

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