Uphill Struggle

by Q4

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes with liner notes and booklet

    Includes unlimited streaming of Uphill Struggle via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      €10 EUR  or more

     

1.
04:59
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03:19
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04:23
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05:08
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04:23
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05:55
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05:22
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04:42
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05:18
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about

The saxophone quartet is a rarity in the world of jazz music. The World Saxophone Quartet, the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, the Rova Saxophone Quartet and the Kölner Saxofon Mafia are among the few notable exceptions.

The common theme connecting the bands mentioned above is that their music has a somewhat intellectual element to it and can often be said to have greater appeal to the brain than to the heart of the listener.

What a treat therefore, that with Q4 a Saxophone Quartet has burst on to the scene that touches the listener’s soul and intellect equally with its phenomenal music.

Founded nearly two years ago, four reed players combine their stupendous virtuosic skills, their artistic expertise honed over long years of playing and their powerful creativity to produce an idiosyncratic sound that can't be compared to any other group working on the circuit today.

When not writing and performing with Q4, baritone saxophonist Tini Thomson is the leader of her own highly successful quintet MaxSax. She has worked with illustrious musicians such as Dr. John, Incognito, Nils Landgren and German rap star Cro. Tini was also a member of the briefly revived famous saxophone Quartet Itchy Fingers. In 2015 she received the prestigious IB.SH-Jazzaward at the renowned Jazz Baltica Festival and one year later at the Deutschen Musikautorenpreis.

Alto player Nigel Hitchcock is the ‘go-to’ saxophonist of the British pop and rock elite. He has worked and recorded with Joe Cocker, Jamiroquai, Kate Bush and Tom Jones to name but a few and is a permanent member of Mark Knopfler's band. Nigel also played with Itchy Fingers.

Tenor saxophonist Björn Berger was also a member of the short-lived second incarnation of Itchy Fingers. For a considerable length of time he has been the reed player who gets first call when the NDR Bigband needs to fill a chair in its sax section. While playing with the NDR Bigband, Björn worked with such jazz luminaries as Till Brönner, Randy Brecker, Al Jarreau, Peter Erskine and Nils Landgren. He has also worked with keyboardist Nils Gessinger and singer Roger Cicero.

Fiete Felsch on alto and soprano sax completes the line up of Q4. He is the lead alto-player for the NDR Bigband and since 1999 has been a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg where in fact, he taught both Tini Thomsen and Björn Berger.

On debut recording Uphill Struggle, the quartet has constructed twelve sonic landscapes instantly gripping the listener with their tightness, infectious grooves, memorable melodies and catchy hooks.

The interplay between the four reed players is of high calibre and sophisticated, reminiscent of the horn section in a well-oiled big band; more so perhaps than afore mentioned saxophone quartets that traditionally favour a less fluid musical structure. Exceptional compositional finesse and nuanced, expressive, well-balanced playing from all four members of Q4 produces an ebullient encounter sure to satisfy the most demanding of ears.

Inspiration for the compositions on Uphill Struggle came from various sources. ‘Glenroon’ was written by Tini Thomsen while visiting the south coast of Ireland and ‘Skye Blues’ – originally composed for orchestra by Nigel Hitchcock – is homage to the biggest island of the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. ‘Yatta Watte’ and ‘Uda Watte’ are dedicated to the two famous teas that are grown in the highlands of Sri Lanka and the monikers of title track ‘Uphill Struggle’ and closing track ‘Panda Gets Funky’ speak for themselves.

In short, this debut is extraordinary, multi-layered and entertaining blending sophistication and exuberance into a real gem of an album and one that’s quite unlike any saxophone quartet before it.

credits

released January 15, 2019

Tini Thomsen - baritone saxophone
Nigel Hitchcock - alto saxophone
Fiete Felsch - alto and soprano saxophone
Björn Berger - tenor saxophone

Mixed and mastered by Steve Cooper at Radiotone
Recorded by Sebastian Ohmert
Edited by Nigel Hitchcock

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Tini Thomsen Germany

When not writing and performing with Q4, baritone saxophonist Tini Thomsen is the leader of her own highly successful quintet MaxSax. She has worked with illustrious musicians such as Dr John, Incognito, Nils Landgren and German Rap star Cro. Tini was also a member of the briefly revived famous saxophone quartet 'itchy Fingers'. In 2015 she received the IB.SH Jazz award at Jazz Baltica Festival. ... more

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