Mike Keepe, Derek Granger, Kelland Thomas and Ryan McCormick
Mike Keepe, Derek Granger, Kelland Thomas and Ryan McCormick

Tucson is the home of a very special musical ensemble that has been performing for 16 years, and will be bringing their music to the Arizona Senior Academy at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 5).

Members of the Presidio Saxophone Quartet have been honing their skills to a level of refinement equal to the very best chamber ensembles, performing with technical fluency, rhythmic exactitude, elegant phrasing, and a broad dynamic palette. “Their blend, intonation, and musical sensitivity are really world class” (Tucson Citizen).

The quartet features  the beautifully matched skills of Mike Keepe, soprano sax;  Derek Granger, alto;  Kelland Thomas, tenor, and Ryan McCormick, baritone.  All four are expert music educators, preparing the next generation of saxophone players at, variously, the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, Flowing Wells High School and at private studios.  To their students they bring years of experience performing throughout the US, Europe and China and backing artists ranging from the Cab Calloway Orchestra (Keepe) to Diane Schuur (Thomas).

Presidio’s repertoire includes every genre of music from classical to jazz, to backing the Temptations in a recent Tucson performance.  They especially strive to program music by living composers, premiering works by James DeMars, Kip Haaheim, Graham Lynch, Jay Vosk and others.  From these composers they have garnered consistently laudatory reviews, for example, Jay Vosk of Tucson has written, “I valued their intelligent interpretation of my music and their consummate skill on their instruments.”

From Cornwall, England, Graham Lynch echoes that judgment: “This quartet managed to get completely on the wavelength of my piece and bring it to life in just the way I conceived … the result is fantastic!”

The Senior Academy concert promises to be an eclectic and exciting mix of music. The Quartet will be playing selections from their traditional repertoire (including a piece commissioned by Adolphe Sax himself in 1858) as well as modern offerings and transcriptions of Bach and Joplin.

CDs that the Presidio Saxophone Quartet has released will be available for sale after the concert.

Submitted by Janet Kerans, Academy Village Volunteer

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Aug. 5: Sax Quartet Offers ‘World Class’ Music
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