Saxophone quartet swings into vespers

Four saxophones playing together in perfect jazzy harmony is an uncommon experience, but an audience in Colwood is in for a treat.

The Church of the Advent’s Jazz Vespers series continues with the Barracuda Jazz Saxophone Quartet’s Something Completely Different show on Sunday, May 19.

Featuring multiple-vespers performer Monik Nordine, the quartet has played together for about a year and half, mostly informally, and tackles the challenge of playing jazz without the grounding of a rhythm section.

Without a beat to keep the musicians in line, the music has to be arranged, perfectly timed and written or memorized, something common to a classical quartet or a big band, but trickier with the improvisational nature of a jazz quartet.

The band does one piece with some improvisation played over a memorized base, but most of the work is written out.

The vesper’s show will focus on the music of Lennie Niehaus, an American sax player and composer who played in the 1950s and composed music for saxophone, along with film scores, notably for a number Clint Eastwood movies.

“He has this really wonderful library of quartet music,” Nordine said. “It is in a jazz vein, and it’s very enjoyable.”

Nordine has played with a number of different groups in the Vespers series and said it’s always a pleasure to return.

“It’s a really comfortable format for a show,” Nordine said. “The fact that… their church community support the jazz community in Victoria to the extent that they do, is also very kind, very generous and it’s a very nice community of people.”

As with all Vespers performances, the band will play a hymn for the audience to sing along with.


Something Completely Different starts at 7 p.m. Admission is free but a freewill offering is accepted.



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