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Connections / Lynn Klock

Klock / Mcmichael / Krzywicki / Jex / Noble Jr
Release Date: 04/13/2010 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1182   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Catherine McMichaelJan KrzywickiDavid JexClifton J. Noble,   ... 
Performer:  Lynn KlockCatherine McMichaelScott BaileyClifton J. Noble,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

CONNECTIONS Lynn Klock (bar sax); Catherine McMichael; 1 Susan Nowicki; 2 Scott Bailey; 3 Clifton J. Noble Jr.; 4 Nadine Shank 5 (pn) ALBANY TROY 1182 (61:19)

McMICHAEL Fusion Suite. Read more class="SUPER12">1 KRZYWICKI Fable. 2 JEX Three Dances. 3 NOBLE De Profundis. 4 MACCHIA Shadowing Nick 5

As far as I can tell, this is the first baritone saxophone recital disc reviewed in Fanfare . At least, there is no other in the online Archive. Not surprising, really, as the baritone sax is the tuba of the saxophone quartet, and usually has to content itself with providing foundation, and adding some rhythmic impulse, for the antics of the higher, assumedly more agile, instruments. That is not the end of story, however, if Lynn Klock has anything to say about it. Klock, professor of saxophone at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, has, for more than 40 years, been an advocate for new music for the saxophone. With this CD, he takes that commitment to a new level, as each work recorded here was either commissioned by him, or by one of his students, to expand the slim baritone saxophone solo repertoire. This is obviously a valuable resource, then, for the player looking for new pieces to play, but such is the quality of the work here that this release should appeal to a broader audience as well.

Fusion Suite , by Michigan-based composer Catherine McMichael, leans toward the jazz side of the marriage, inspired by the sound of a jazz-rock fusion band playing outdoors on a warm August night. The three movements evoke the energy of the band, the warmth of the evening, and the crystalline beauty of the star-filled sky. Fable , composed by Temple University professor Jan Krzywicki, tells a story in the form of a rondo, with two contrasting themes creating the conflict, resolution, and the quiet moral. There is less of jazz and more of the impressionist in this captivating work. Equally appealing is the final work on the CD, Shadowing Nick by University of Massachusetts Amherst colleague Salvatore Macchia. An homage to jazz baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola, it is the most harmonically progressive piece on the disc. A fascinating work of great depth and intensity, it, of the five pieces, most completely exploits the range of the instrument, and makes the greatest interpretive demands on the soloist.

To call the other two pieces more conventional is not to damn with faint praise. Each celebrates the technical skill of the soloist: David Jex with his Three Dances of contrasting character, and Clifton Noble in De Profundis , a sonata for baritone saxophone and piano, built on fragments of the Roman Catholic chant on that text, which contemplates not so much spiritual depth as instrumental. Every one of the five pieces poses significant challenges to the player, making little concession to the difficulty of manipulating such a large instrument. The ease with which Klock dashes them off belies that fact, of course. Further, most are written predominantly for the upper part of the instrument’s range, making huge demands on breath and tonal control. And yet, Klock often sounds more like he is playing an alto or a tenor sax, so sweet is the tone and so easy the lyricism and the passagework.

Each of the five pieces is accompanied by a different pianist, in the case of De Profundis and Fusion Suite, by the respective composers. Klock’s taste in collaborators is as fine as his taste in repertoire: perfect. Sound quality is the same. I can think of no reason why any saxophonist would want to pass up this release. Purchase should be mandatory for all baritone sax players. But don’t let the sax players have all the fun. Highly recommended to anyone who likes well-crafted, jazz-inspired contemporary music.

FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

Fusion Suite by Catherine McMichael
Performer:  Lynn Klock (Baritone Saxophone), Catherine McMichael (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
Fable by Jan Krzywicki
Performer:  Lynn Klock (Baritone Saxophone), Catherine McMichael (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Three Dances by David Jex
Performer:  Lynn Klock (Baritone Saxophone), Scott Bailey (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
De Profundis by Clifton J. Noble
Performer:  Lynn Klock (Baritone Saxophone), Clifton J. Noble (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
Shadowing Nick by Salvatore Macchia
Performer:  Lynn Klock (Baritone Saxophone), Nadine Shank (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 

Sound Samples

Fusion Suite: I. Fusion
Fusion Suite: II. August Beguine
Fusion Suite: III. Cygnus and Aquila
3 Dances: No. 1. Quickstep-Romp
3 Dances: No. 2. Air
3 Dances: No. 3. Hornpipe-Rondo
De Profundis: I. Clamavi
De Profundis: II. Ad te, Domine
De Profundis: III. Exaudi Vocem Meam
Shadowing Nick

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