north east scotland's festival of new music

press reviews

Andy Scott's SaxAssault

Written by Alan Cooper

reproduced with permission


Andy Scott's SaxAssault

My first experience of a big jazz orchestra featuring just one sort of instrument (plus rhythm section) was thirty years ago when the late Sandy Cuthill introduced me to a record called Tutti's Trombones. Salvatore "Tutti" Camarata was a musical director and arranger for Decca Records and Disney Studios and his arrangements of popular tunes in a jazz idiom for a huge choir consisting of all the members of the trombone family featuring the top classical and jazz players of the day was a thrilling musical experience. Things have moved on since then and Andy Scott's SaxAssault in the Lemon Tree on Saturday night brought back that old frisson of musical excitement, and then some. The group consists of nine saxophone players, a mixture of jazz improvisers and classical players featuring all the members of the sax family from the sopranino to the bass along with a rhythm section consisting on Saturday of Dave Stapleton on keyboards, Ollie Collins on bass guitar and the amazing Elliot Henshaw on drums.

Lip Service was the opening number which hit the audience square on with its big band sound and with a high powered solo from Andy Schofield. Then it was on to Double Standard, a composition by Dave Stapleton and putting him and partner Ben Waghorn who performed together at the Lunch Break concert in the Art Gallery but this time he had turned up the heat quite a bit moving to soprano sax.

The title track from the ensemble's latest CD Sax of Gold followed before a dazzling tribute to the group's sax hero Wayne Shorter with once again a solo from Andy Schofield on alto.

It was on to explore the two outer reaches of the sax orchestra with Carl Raven soloing on Sopranino in the splendidly light Fujiko, Andy Scott's own resetting for saxophones of a piece originally composed for clarinets. Jim Fieldhouse was the featured bass sax player in a piece entitled Salt of the Earth that had a kind of Tijuana flavour to it and he was the composer of a piece with the intriguing title of Stoned Toad.

Lord Stackhouse, another enigmatic title featured as soloist John Helliwell, saxophonist with the group Supertramp. This piece had wonderfully rich and colourful harmonies played by the ensemble too.

Sabretooth by Mike Hall featuring both him and Ben Waghorn was followed by the ensemble's epic finale in which everyone took a special part either alone or in groups and there were stunning solos here from the rhythm group who finally grabbed the limelight in particular bassist Ollie Collins and virtually stealing the entire show, drummer Elliot Henshaw.

I was left just wondering what old Adolphe Sax would think of his family of children today. Would they have set his feet a-tapping even there in his grave in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris? They certainly did it for me.

Original article reproduced here with kind permission.

events mentioned
  Date Day Time Location Event Details

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1Sat8.30 pmAberdeenSaxAssault