Redwood Jazz Alliance and the Arcata Playhouse team up to present New York and Seattle based quartet The Tiptons.
The Tiptons are an all-female saxophone quartet plus drums that perform concerts that cover musical territory from New Orleans "second line" to free jazz, Afro-Cuban to Balkan, Klezmer and beyond. Simply put, they create some of the wildest sounds ever to come out of a sax quartet and they will bring those sounds to the Arcata Playhouse on Monday, December 12 at 8:00 p.m.
The Tiptons have been around in one form or another for nearly 20 years, and their current lineup consists of original members Jessica Lurie on alto and tenor sax, Amy Denio on alto sax and clarinet; and more recent recruits Sue Orfield on tenor sax, and Tina Richerson on baritone sax. All four members also sing, and this tour features dynamic Seattle drummer and long- time friend John Ewing from the Reptet. Their dynamic, playful concerts feature high-energy interaction between members, and a repertoire using sax, voice and drums that touches on soulful music from around the world.
Formerly known as Billy Tipton Memorial Sax Quartet, the Tiptons are named for Billy Tipton, a big band saxophonist that lived and worked as a man for more than five decades, the fact that he was biologically female was revealed only after his death in 1989. Quartet founders, Amy Denio and Jessica Lurie, adopted his mantel soon thereafter. The Tiptons' four female horn players obviously assume some sympathy in the always male-dominated world of jazz, even if they don't feel the need to cloak their sexual identities. If it's gender politics you're after, though, there's not much of the stereotypically feminine about the Tiptons, despite the lack of a Y chromosome.
It is hard to encapsulate the Tiptons into a genre, as they cover a wide range of musical ground. As everyone in the band is an outstanding player (both in terms of technique, and musical feel), they are able to pull this off very well. Though Denio and Lurie are listed as the main composers, all four members contribute songs to the Tiptons' repertoire; their varied musical backgrounds are one reason why they are able to play and write so well in so many styles.
In concert, the Tiptons are an impressive and cohesive unit (all the more so given that they live in three different states), both musically and in their interactions with each other onstage. Though Lurie and Denio take the bulk of the frontwoman duties, at some point all four will take the lead with the crowd in the performance.
The Tiptons have toured frequently in North America and Europe, collaborated with Pat Graney Dance Company, taught workshops on improvisation and composition, and have recorded eight CDs. Their newest release, Strange Flower (Zipa!/Spoot Music) includes 12 songs penned by each of the players, inspired by the lonely echo of train whistles at night, scientific findings on bees from Harper's Magazine and covering genres from micro-Big Band to Gospel, Bluegrass to Balkan, Whimsical Jazz to Nocturnal Funk.
The show is co-sponsored by Redwood Jazz Alliance and Playhouse Arts. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with music starting at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 general & $13 Playhouse members and are available at Wildwood Music, Peoples Records or The Works. For additional information phone (707) 822-1575 or visit arcataplayhouse.org. See you at the Playhouse!
We are located at 1251 9th Street at 9th & L streets in Arcata.
Arcata, CA 95521