701 Franklin Street Southeast, Olympia, WA
Want to hear jazz, classical, and pop all in the same concert? If you have never heard a saxophone quartette, you might be surprised at the range of sounds produced by a four horn group, and by the extent of the musical literature covered by their arrangements. Anything from Bach to Gershwin is possible, with sounds pitched from the basso register on the baritone, to the sweet high notes of the soprano, and the rich organ-like chords with the alto and tenor added. The Quartette is pleased to bring you an hour of music from several worlds, some familiar and some likely new to you. We hope that you enjoy our concert.
Named for that local icon of swing, saxophonist Chuck Stentz, the Quartet was founded in 2014. Chuck needs no introduction to local jazz fans, but for those not familiar with him, he came up in the world of jazz among great players, mentored by the fresh sounds of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. He developed his unique swing improvisational style and beautiful vibrato while playing with the travelling bands, starting with Nat Pierce's Big Band. From the 60's until the present, he was on stage with many great northwest players including Bill Ramsay, Jack Percival, Joe Baque, and Burt Wilson.
The Quartette is led by John Beach on soprano. John has been on jazz scene in South Puget Sound area since growing up in the northwest and has played everything from rock to funk, with solid roots throughout the jazz scene. He is currently playing tenor in Rich Wetzel's Band and is in high demand on gigs through western Washington.
Rudy Draco is a talented multi-instrumentalist , professionally trained at the University of North Texas, with extensive performance experience in classical, stage and jazz arenas, fluent in play on all the saxes, as well as oboe, bassoon, and flute. He plays with the Olympia Jazz Senators, Rich Wetzel's Band and gigs throughout the Northwest. His specialty is the baritone sax, which he plays in the Quartette.
Ron Smith joined the group in 2015, playing alto sax. Ron is a retired physician, and has been building his skill level on the saxophone with the generous help of people like Chuck Stentz. His primary instrument is clarinet, and he plays the other saxes as well as doubling on flute. Ron has played in several big bands in the South Sound including lead tenor in South Sound Swing, and also enjoys classical play and pit orchestra work.