Composers Sax 4-tet

sax quartet photo

As a saxophonist I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that there’s something really special about playing in the quartet setting.  We experience it to a certain extent playing as one of a group of five saxes in a big band.  But playing just with other saxes without a rhythm section is like nothing else.  You can hear everyone’s sound so clearly and the nuances are not missed.  It’s like a living breathing organism we bring to life as a group.

The mission of the Composers Saxophone Quartet is to make the best of this special instrumentation.  We perform original compositions and/or arrangements by our favorite local composers as well as by members of the ensemble.  We love hearing what everyone comes up with and after each meeting everyone’s excited to get to write more for the group.

For jazz musicians it’s a different challenge to write something that will support an improvising soloist without a standard rhythm section and the composers who have written for us have approached this in a variety of ways.  All the saxophonists in the quartet are also excellent improvisers and most of the pieces we play incorporate improvisation, showcasing the band’s ability to really swing without the need of a rhythm section.

The band members are:

Mark Zaleski- soprano/alto saxes
Rick Stone- alto sax
Sean Berry- tenor sax
Kathy Olson- bari sax

Video footage of the Composers Saxophone Quartet from a concert at Outpost 186 in August 2011 performing an arrangement of “My Waltz”- Olson:


Some recordings from past performances:

Oddball- Brian Friedland


Deed I Do- Rose & Hirsch, Arranged by Kathy Olson


Repetition- Rick Stone (with special guest Diane Wernick)


Hebdomad – Danny Fratina (with special guest Diane Wernick)


School Stone Rock- Rick Stone


Bird’s Lament- Moondog, Arranged by Rick Stone


Ham and Cheese- Kathy Olson


Toon, Variations, and Fugue - Tom Hojnacki (with special guest Diane Wernick)


Reverie- Kathy Olson


Short Piece- Randy Pingrey


Premonition- Randy Pingrey


Stay tuned to the calendar page for future performances.