Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

World Saxophone Quartet: World Saxophone Quartet Plays Duke Ellington [Nonesuch, 1986]
As someone who's never gone all the way with the elegantly appointed orchestrations of what all agree is the man's greatest period, I admire the way the quartet format suggests sonorous magnificence without deploying an embarrassment of riches in its service. Barely touched by deconstructive anarchy, these homages constitute the richest, mellowest music ever recorded by a group whose accomplishment has always been tarnished by a certain theoretical veneer. I suppose a rhythm section would only distract from its textured gloss. And have no doubt that the guest composer adds a quantum of quality. A-