The World Saxophone Quartet – Experience
The World Saxophone Quartet
(Justin Time – 2004)
by Paula Edelstein
Many composers and their compositions have the ability to transcend genres but there are certain compositions that are so closely associated with their composers that they require years of study, listening, re-study, re-listening and most of all arrangements that will do them justice if you’re going to cover them. Several artists have successfully revisited and performed the music of Guitar God – Jimi Hendrix – such as Miles Evans, the son of Gil Evans, and several others. However, Experience, a new release by the World Saxophone Quartet, doesn’t exactly reach the level one would expect from such a stellar ensemble.
Their treatments of such classic Hendrix favorites as “Freedom,” “Hey Joe,” “Machine Gun,” “Little Wing,” “Foxey Lady,” and “The Wind Cries Mary,” among others, are highly disappointing due to the distortion of the original melodies, lack of emotion (“Little Wing”) energy and sex appeal (“Foxey Lady,”) odd timing and tempos that don’t agree with the true essence of the songs, and most of all the extensive revamping of the rock form and structure.
This is not free jazz instrumental saxophone music, or music for such reed royalty as David Murray, Bluiett, or Oliver Lake. Hendrix’s music can be orchestrated with care or played in a rock setting – even a rock opera setting, but shouldn’t be tampered with if you haven’t listened to it, powered up your babe magnet, or played it in 30 years!