Portraits is the presentation concert of latest Saxofollia's album: the culmination of years of study into musical techniques, styles, and arrangements. Thanks to this approach the classical and chamber qualities of the saxophone quartet coexist with its jazz soul.
These “portraits” are homages to some of the greatest jazz musicians.
The opening of the album is a suite of 4 tracks from the repertoire of Cole Porter, arranged by Roberto Sansuini. He approaches these Swing and Latin songs as if dealing with the music of Bach or Mozart, weaving voices, playing with counterpoint. In the end there is both the delicacy of a string quartet and the impetus of a jazz orchestra.
What follows are "Six variations on the theme of Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", an original song by Sansuini.
Here, a genre typical of classical music, such as the "theme with variations," is applied to a composition from the traditional jazz repertoire. In 1959, the composer and double bass player Charles Mingus wrote a ballad commemorating the death of saxophonist Lester Young. During this short cycle of variations the initial idea becomes the pretext for the construction of new songs, and here, although the music is notated, the affinities with jazz are evident. The style and the techniques used in thesecomposition are deliberately heterogeneous, as if the theme was seen from different, even opposing, angles.
"Mr. J.C.", a tribute to John Coltrane, closes the Sansuiniano triptych. In it some of Coltrane’s most famous songs of the have been reimaginedfor a saxophone quartet, with plays on reworking rhythmic (Giant Steps), counterpoint interweaving (Like Sonny, Naima) and re-harmonizing (Big Nick).
Another original song, "Diffusion," by Gordon Goodwin celebrates, in fourmovements, a brief history of the saxophone.
The first two movements, in allegro and waltz, are a homage to minimal music and the French '900, followed by a swing and hip-hop movements, which clearly link to the most recent life of the instrument.
In this gallery of musical portraits there is a tribute to the Italian song: "E se domani", made famous by the interpretation of Mina, revisited in a medium rock version by Stefano Nanni.
Bill Holcombe is the composer of another original, “A Tale of Three Cities, (London, Paris, NewYork)” which skillfully mixes unreleased material with jazz standards and traditional melodies from the three cities. The result is a playful and fun suite that wonderfully reflects the spirit of the quartet.