As saxophonists we are sure that we’re 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.
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.
Members of the Composers Saxophone Quartet are:
Rick Stone: Rick has performed and recorded with musicians and groups including the Either/Orchestra, the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra, the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra, Bob Brookmeyer, George Garzone, and John Tchicai. He teaches music classes and instrumental lessons in the Boston area notably for the New England Conservatory Prep School and the Brookline public schools, while maintaining a busy performance schedule with various groups across the Northeast.
Diane Wernick: Diane's current teaching includes Berklee College of Music, directing the Middle School Jazz Band at Buckingham Browne & Nichols, Newton Public Schools Private Lesson Program, and North Reading Schools Private Lesson Program, and John Payne Music Center. She performs around the Boston area in a variety of musical settings including jazz combos, swing big bands, sax quartets, wind ensembles, etc. She also performs with Shimon Ben-Shir's band, along with Duncan Martin and Andy Solberg.
Sean Berry: Sean is a transplant from Three Forks, WA, who has been performing and teaching in the Northeast since 1998. Sean has performed with jazz greats such as James Williams, Clark Terry, Bobby Shew, Danilo Pérez, Oliver Lake, Frank Mantooth, Jim McNeely, Ingrid Jensen, Matt Wilson, Gary Burton, and Rebecca Paris. In addition to being a member of the Boston-based Chuck Gabriel Septet and the Makanda Project, he also performs regularly with his own trio and quartet, has an active freelance schedule, and maintains a large studio teaching woodwinds.
Kathy Olson: Kathy is a jazz baritone saxophonist based in the Boston area but originally from Charleston, West Virginia. On the baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, or bass clarinet Kathy has performed and/or recorded a variety of styles. Kathy founded the Composers Saxophone Quartet in 2011. She also leads the Olson Pingrey Quartet and performs as a side person with the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra and the balkan brass group Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band, among others.