This unusual set by the late Makanda Ken McIntyre
is subtitled "The Woodwind Quartets." The catch is that McIntyre
plays all of the instruments through overdubbing. Three songs apiece feature McIntyre
on either two flutes, alto flute and bass flute or two clarinets, alto clarinet and bass clarinet or two oboes, English horn and bassoon. The remaining two numbers have him on soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. Ten of McIntyre
's eleven originals had been recorded previously in a more conventional setting with a rhythm section. These quartets were an experiment of sorts, but a largely successful one. The music ranges from calypsos (including "Peas 'N' Rice") and a soulful blues ("Chitlins & Cavyah") played by the eerie sounding double reeds quartet to moments where the music sounds like classical chamber music. Quite often McIntyre
solos with one instrument while the others repeat a pattern or achieve the effect of an accompanying organ. The structures and themes are not that radical although sometimes the solo voice plays a bit outside. The intriguing tone colors and Makanda Ken McIntyre
's consistent creativity make this a project well worth exploring.