Nine Pieces for Five Players by renowned composer and saxophonist Richard Ingham was originally commissioned and written for the Plume Quintet. The original wind quintet version was later rewritten as a saxophone quintet for the Quirk saxophone quartet, becoming a standard SATB quartet with additional soprano. Five of the movements highlight each of the players in turn.

Several of the movements were performed in Zagreb at the World Saxophone Congress. We were very excited about the blend of sound created with the quintet of saxophones, which prompted Richard to arrange the rest of the movements. Each movement is very different, and the whole album incorporates many musical styles. Five of the movements feature a member of the ensemble as a soloist with the others accompanying.

In July 2019 Quirk travelled North to Ardgour in the Highlands of Scotland to meet Richard at Watercolour Music to record the Nine Pieces. It's an amazing location for a studio, nestled among the hills surrounded by spectacular views. We were there from the 11th to the 14th July working with producer Nick Turner recording nine movements, with Richard joining us on soprano saxophone.

The stylistic differences of the movements made this an interesting project. Some movements lean towards contemporary saxophone, others sub-tone tenor saxophone ballad, and folk, and slap-stick... A few weeks before we met, Richard took delivery of a new Yamaha soprano saxophone (bits kept falling off his other saxophones), and what better way to see if you like an instrument than to enter the stratospheric altissimo range in a recording. A fun few days with fun people.

Track List:

  1. (1.26) An insistent, relentless tutti movement concludes with a more relaxed melodic coda.
  2. (2.31) This soprano feature opens with a free solo introduction. After a duo interruption the soprano leaps into a soaring melody over an undulating accompaniment. The duo reappears briefly and the movement closes.
  3. (2.27) A period jazz piece, exploiting the timbres and range of the alto. A lilting and occasionally provocative accompaniment from the others.
  4. (1.29) A simple bossa nova groove with tunes.
  5. (1.34) This funky baritone feature is a virtuosic tour de force. Some punchy backings complete the package.
  6. (2.50) This time the tenor is highlighted in a sultry ballad with lightest of accompaniments. A brief atmospheric outro and it’s over.
  7. (5.54) Sunset at the West Sands is an abstract soundscape, conjuring up an evening on the West Sands, St Andrews. Slow moving chords meet each other and separate, before a surprising tune appears from the depths. Some slightly disturbing disintegration before abstract chords close the piece.
  8. (1.38) Kingsbarns Reel features the soprano in a reel with Shetland swing. Ceilidh band unisons appear, Irish pipes are heard under the inventive and driving jazz solo, then a mad scamper finish leads into...
  9. (1.40) The finale is a light-hearted take on wind chamber music, combined with a hoe-down. Complete breakdown in the middle then flourish and out.