Ariel Alexander – Sopransaxophon
Matthew Cashdollar – Alt-,Tenorsaxophon, Querflöte
Michael Eaton – Tenorsaxophon
Joshua Goldberg – Altsaxophon, Klarinette
Benjamin Himpel – Tenor-, Baritonsaxophon
Colin Renick – Bariton-/Basssaxophon, Bassklarinette

The Saxophone Cartel CD „Caught in the Act“ features six players on soprano through bass saxes on pieces that are often equal parts classical, jazz, and free improvisation. They combine excellent musicianship, great chops, and an ability to use extended techniques without being silly.

It reminds me of all the things I like about the Kolner Saxophone Mafia, but with plenty of originality and with enough other influences that it doesn’t end
up sounding derivative. It’s really a unique CD that shows great group collaboration, lots of excellent playing, and very enoyable compositions. I’m glad they managed to document this group – hopefully the future will see more like it.

This group successfully walks the line between being unique and „out-there“ and being accessible without being simplistic or trite. They have a sense of fun, of exploration, of humor, and a little bit of funk. Himpel’s and Renick’s compositions are gems of chamber saxophone writing, using the individual timbers of the saxes and other woodwinds very effectively to create varied and cohesive musical textures. There are also some very good group improvisations that hold up quite well to repeated inspection. Nice use of doubles with clarinet, bass clarinet, flute on several pieces, while others are pure saxophone textures.

This could be an easily overlooked CD because of it’s limited distribution, but for fans of the saxophone family, and good and interesting music in general, I think this is a great disc – check it out.

Jay C. Easton