The musicians of the "Cologne Saxophone Quintet" have been playing together since their studies at the Cologne University of Music. Instead of using existing literature, they arranged their own repertoire from the start, thus creating their own musical language for the ensemble. Despite the purely classical woodwind line-up, this is strongly influenced by jazz and pop. The five multi-instrumentalists use different saxophones, clarinets, bass clarinets, flutes and the double bass saxophone "Tubax". The arrangements of the quintet are now part of the repertoire of many saxophone ensembles worldwide.
The winners of the Yamaha Sax Contest 2003, who also played with Bill Clinton at the presentation of the German Media Prize, can attend numerous concerts and festival appearances, including in Switzerland and the USA.
In 2005 Neuklang released the CD “YO! - featuring Bob Mintzer ”, which was partly recorded in New York. It features eight tracks with guest star Bob Mintzer on the tenor saxophone.
"Our first album introduces the music of the Cologne Saxophone Quintet from its beginning in 1996 up to the present. The 17 songs we arranged during that time show a variety of different styles, grooves and moods we’ve been working on.
We started this CD project in May 2003, when we had the great opportunity to record some pieces with Bob Mintzer at 39th Street Music in New York City. In July 2004 we all met again to complete our work at the Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg. We’re glad to feature Bob for the songs on this album. His playing fits perfectly to our music and brings an extra thrill to it – we love it! Thanks a lot, Bob!
The rest of the numbers represent the pure sound of the quintet and introduces all the members of the group in special solo parts. Beside the regular saxophone quintet instrumentation with two altos, two tenors and baritone you can also hear a lot other woodwinds: clarinets, bass clarinets, flutes, the sopranino saxophone and the tubax (a new Eb-contrabass saxophone developed by Benedikt Eppelsheim). This horn plays beautifully and funky and is a great addition to the quintet. Thanks a lot Benedikt for your support!
We would also like to thank Philipp Heck and Eva Bauer-Oppeland at the Bauer Studios for their great work and efforts in this project, Joe Ford at 39th Street Music for realizing the New York recordings so spontaneously, quickly and well, Dr. Jennifer Barker for her fantastic and indefatigable help during the USA tour as well as our parents and families."
The Cologne Saxophone Quintet (2005)
"The music you are about to hear on this cd is quite something. It swings with a jazz and R&B sensibility while acknowledging the more classical saxophone ensemble approach. The arrangements are extremely smart, and very hip! And the playing… well, put it this way: I never missed the drummer. These guys play with the momentum of a world class rhythm section. The only difference is they don’t need one. It was easy and inspiring to solo with the saxophone ensemble providing the accompainment. I’m sure you will have a good time checking this music out."
Bob Mintzer (2005)
Tracks: YO! / Recorda Me / La Mesha / The Magnificent Seven / Round Midnight / Wasting My Time / Sie Sieht Mich Nicht / El Manisero / Pick Up The Pieces / Blues For Woodwinds / Save The Best For Last / Mis En Bouteille Au Château / Forrest Gump / And When The Angels Sing / Dolphin Dance / I Feel Good / Fragile
All tracks arranged by the Cologne Saxophone Quintet
This piece about joy, funk and groove is fun to play. It was written in 1994, inspired by the music of Bob Mintzer and it features the tenor saxophone (improvised solo and written counterpoint lines). The original version for five saxophones is actually a piece for quartet and soloist. In the four-saxophone version, the tenor solo part is integrated in the quartet and the soloist plays in the ensemble. The whole piece is based on clear rhythmic and melodic motives, which develop and flow from one part into the other, thus creating a funky groove. There is a good recording of YO! by the Cologne Saxophone Quintet on their CD YO! – featuring Bob Mintzer (Neuklang).
The cheerful and expressive pop-jazz song November Spring was originally written for saxophone quartet Wheeze (two altos, tenor and baritone). It is a feature for the 1st alto (optional soprano part is included – the alto part goes up to high A!), which introduces the melody and plays a long improvised solo. Also included is an optional 2nd tenor part (or optional 3rd alto) to perform this piece in the Cologne Saxophone Quintet version. Playing November Spring is not only a challenge, but it is also fun to do! The composition consists of a short and explosive introduction, a 64-bar AABC theme, an interlude, a solo for 1st alto on the AABC form, an interlude, ABC theme and a coda.