RECORDINGS: Mozart to Modern. Amherst Saxophone Quartet, Lukas Foss, pianist. MCA Classics

Works reviewed: 
Quintet for Piano and Wind Instruments in Eb, K. 452, W.A. Mozart
Saxophone Quartet, Lukas Foss
Lullaby, George Gershwin
Jassamine Lane, Eubie Blake
Eubie Dubie, Eubie Blake
Pittsburgh Press, The
Pittsburgh, PA
By: 
Donald Rosenberg

A few bars into Mozart's Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452, you suddenly realize that, no, these aren't the designated winds (oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn) of Mozart's quintet, but four saxophones who sound uncannily like the originals. Soon, the distinctive colors of the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes inhabit Mozart, and the Amherst players make a convincing case for style over purism. The performance is a treat from the Amherst's occasional camouflage act to Lukas Foss' elegant pianism. Also to be savored are Foss' Saxophone Quartet, written for these players, a neatly devised amalgam of neo-classic and jazz ideas that avoid banal sax personality traits. The Amherst musicians, who are based in Buffalo and performed last summer at Summerfest in Fox Chapel, make a seamless wonder of Gershwin's bluesy Lullaby and dandy work of Eubie Blake's Jassamine Lane. Their snappy closer, Eubie Dubie, pays affectionate tribute to the ragtime musician who was their coach and mentor.

RECORDINGS: Mozart to Modern. Amherst Saxophone Quartet, Lukas Foss, pianist. MCA Classics