Sunday, November 25, 2007

Scaling the Saxophone Summit

Saxophone Summit @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
November 24, 2007

Jack Wright: saxophones
Katsura Yamauchi: saxophones
John Berndt: saxophones
Heddy Boubaker: saxophones

Strategically positioned in formation across the performance space of the Red Room the Saxophone Summit presented sonic canvases of varying duration over two sets. With a restless willingness to draw timbres from their respective vibrating columns by a wide variety of means this music took on the detail rich vibrancy of an imaginary pipe organ powered by multiple creative minds actively transforming every angle and quality of it's own plumbing in real time.

John Berndt experimented with empty energy drink cans placed within the alto saxophone or the muting properties of a soprano saxophone pressed against his leg. Heddy Boubaker explored a territory of partially disassembled instrument (at one point seemingly drinking the gurgling contents with the horn tipped high over his head) and various mouthpiece-free sounds. Jack Wright was at turns percussive and almost conversationally sputtering with his refined (and much appreciated) personal style of free improvisation. And Katsura Yamauchi wove in timbrally striking patterns that were startling and a point of fixation for these ears. His contributions often led me to open my eyes to determine where a particular layer of the sound was coming from. Invariably it was some quiet repeated pattern of clicked keypads or softly bent tone from Yamauchi's sopranino or alto saxophone. Late in the second set he built up to some loud multi phonics rich with psycho acoustic anomalies.

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