During one of my semi-regular Internet searches for interesting saxophone talent, I happened across the Seattle-based The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet And Drums. This all female saxophone band has made quite a name for itself since it formed in 1988.
Over the course of the past 22 years, like many bands, The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet And Drums has seen its fair share of line-up changes. According to the band’s website, the players currently are: Amy Denio, alto; Jessica Lurie, alto & tenor; Sue Orfield, tenor; Tina Richerson, baritone; and Lee Frisari, drums.
A quick read through their bios, and your’re struck by the breadth and depth of the education, as well as musical experience and accomplishments that these women have.
I found this upbeat video from 2007 on YouTube. It was shot on July 1st, while the band was on one of the European tours. Here they are performing in Linz, Austria.
When the band first started in 1988, they were known as The Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet (BTMSQ). The BTMSQ name was inspired by jazz saxophonist, piano player, and band leader Billy Tipton.
Tipton worked in the American jazz music scene during the 1940s through the 1960s. It was only after his death in 1989, that it was discovered that Billy Tipton was actually a woman, who had been living as a man for more than 50 years.
In the words of the owner of the above video, like Billy Tipton:
[n]ot to be bound by convention, the Tiptons similarly do their own thing. With a repertoire that ranges from New Orleans second – line to jazz, Afro-Cuban to Balkan, klezmer and beyond, the Tiptons create some of the wildest sounds ever to come out of a sax quartet. Their dynamic, playful concerts feature high-energy interaction between members, and a repertoire that touches on soulful music from around the world.
Over the course of the band’s 22 year history, The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet And Drums has recorded 9 albums. Check out their website to see which are currently available.