Tom Thorp (soprano & tenor saxophone)/Krzystof Urbanski (alto & tenor saxophone)/Jeff Guntren (tenor saxophone/Kyran Matthews (baritone & tenor saxophone)
Tom Thorp’s new saxophone quartet of nimble-fingered northern talents subverts tradition and explores unconventional permutations of the sax family, new interactions between players and experimental composition techniques: energetic and musical in the extreme.
Polygon Quartet’s gig will be the launch event for their new album.
“This quartet is a brand new project bringing together four award-winning saxophonists. I am writing a suite of new music which for an album recording in spring 2017. The material is going to be focused on exploring more contemporary ways of composing for a jazz sax quartet. Nigel Hitchcock’s ‘Itchy Fingers’ were fantastic, and although it was mainly focused on showcasing the virtuosity of the players, I want to combine the saxes in different and more dynamic ways, to move the concept of the jazz sax quartet beyond merely utilising the soli conventions of the big band.
However, the line-up is brimming with virtuosic players, so we will have complete freedom to really experiment with the writing and to put together some challenging, dynamic and engaging compositions. My ideas are heavily influenced by the World Sax quartet, Dutch sax quartet the ArtWark Quartet and the saxophone super group Axis (featuring Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Chris Cheek and Josh Redman).
One thing I’m really interested in is subverting the roles of the instruments within the quartet. I am writing some pieces in which there is no hierarchy – a piece called “Homo Genus” for 4 tenors, for example. The interaction between the players then becomes focused on different musical elements than the pitch and melodic hierarchy of Soprano-Alto-Tenor-Bass. One can also create some interesting affects by reversing the SATB hierarchy, or moving focus to different instruments within the quartet by physical proximity on the stage, an idea which is central to the ArtWark quartet’s performing style. I am calling on my time studying with Dr Camden Reeves as a classical composer as much as my jazz training at the RNCM to put together a creative, innovative and musically engaging response to the Sax Quartet format.”