Pierre Boulez is 90 today - and he's a complete one-off.
Elegant and sultry in equal measure, this album gives the saxophone some much-deserved credit as a classical instrument. Album of the Week, 22 April 2013.
If you had to name a solo classical instrument, chances are, 'saxophone' wouldn't be the first word to trip off your tongue. After listening to the honeyed tones of Australian saxophonist Amy Dickson, however, you might be inclined to think again.
It's not just the novelty of hearing a classical saxophone that sets this album apart. The choice of repertoire is a great mix between smoky jazz numbers and re-workings of well-known pieces from the classical canon. And some tracks, like Walton's delicate Touch Her Soft Lips and Part, are a beautiful fusion of the two: it's transformed from a lush string piece to a tender saxophone solo with an improvisatory feel, perfectly suited to Amy's mellow playing.
The range of music is equally surprising. I Only Have Eyes For You, complete with a sultry understated drum beat and a flirtatious twinkle from the jazz piano, is worlds away from Fauré's peaceful Pavane, where Amy's mellifluous saxophone playing makes a case for banning flautists from ever playing the piece again.
Graceful and understated, this album shows off the sheer versatility of the classical sax, through the medium of some eminently hummable tunes.