Since the middle ages bass clarinet and saxophone players have traditionally been the Hatfields and the McCoys of the horn section*. As a bass clarinet player, I was always on the other side of this great divide: there I was, a playing an unknown and unloved instrument, seated in the senior band beside the tenor saxophone players with all their swager and popularity and music featuring their solos. I have avoided saxophones ever since like the plague (the only exception being the soprano saxophone; as it’s also a misunderstood instrument bass clarinet players, along with the oboists and bassoonists, formed a sort of kinship-of-the-outcast; see also Heaven Can Wait).
Imagine my surprise, then, to hear the most beautiful music echoing up Victoria Row toward my office, only to find, on investigation, that it was coming from the Nikki Schieck Sax Quartet: four saxophones (four!), creating sounds I wasn’t aware could emanate from that confounded instrument.
Consider the saxophone fully-redeemed.
Nikki Schieck Sax Quartet are Barrie Sorensen (soprano/alto sax), Dan Rowswell (baritone sax), Melissa MacRae (tenor sax) and Nikki Schieck (alto sax). They’re a joy to listen to, and if you have the chance — even, or especially if you’re a longtime anti-saxite — you should make a point of seeking them out.
* I made this up.