The review by awarded the album 4.5 stars stating "The second recording by The World Saxophone Quartet (which follows by a year their Moers Music release Point of No Return) gives one a well-rounded look at this powerful group. Composed of altoist Julius Hemphill (who contributes four of the six group originals), altoist Oliver Lake, tenorman David Murray and baritonist Hamiet Bluiett, the explorative yet rhythmic group is heard in their early prime on this stimulating relea".
The WSQ were founded in 1976 after the four original members (all of them well-established solo artists) accepted an offer by Ed Jordan, the chairman of the music department at Southern University in New Orleans, to conduct a series of clinics and performances with and without a local rhythm section. The enthusiastic audience response to the unaccompanied saxophones convinced the musicians to develop the concept. They played a gig at the (now defunct) Tin Palace in New York, calling the group the Real New York Saxophone Quartet. They were later forced to change the name after reportedly being threatened with a lawsuit by the preexisting New York Saxophone Quartet; hence, the World Saxophone Quartet. In 1977, the band recorded their first album, an almost completely improvised effort called Point of No Return, for the label. Later releases on document the band's increasing interest in composition. The membership stayed constant until 's departure in 1989. was the first of 's several replacements. was with the band from 1990-1992, and from 1994-1995. joined briefly in 1993, and was quickly replaced by . In 1996, after 's second tenure, John Purcell took and held the chair.
In the late '70s, with Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett — two of his colleagues in the St. Louis collective Black Artists' Group — and New York-based musician David Murray, Lake founded the World Saxophone Quartet, an ensemble that helped redefine the boundaries of jazz in the 1980s, through a unique repertoire of original compositions and harmonically advanced arrangements of contemporary R&B numbers, Jimi Hendrix songs and classic Ellingtonia. These days, he regularly performs with Tarbaby, an adventurous trio consisting of pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits.
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