FB: That is the next leap. We need to talk about that marvellous saxophone quartet. AC: That is probably the most touring that I have ever done and the most recording in anyone thing. It was with Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet. It started in 1980, the first year I wasn't in it, it was three people who met at NEC, Cercie Miller, alto and soprano, Tom Hall, tenor, Danny Bittker, tenor and Steve Adams. Danny moved to San Francisco. I heard them, one of the first gigs I heard when I moved to Boston in the summer of 1988, I remember them distinctly. I heard Semenya McCord at Studio Red Top, I knew her name from an Archi Shep record called 'There's A Trumpet in My Soul' and I was excited to see her. FB: (Indecipherable) AC: I played two gigs with Ken Filiano, Art Lillard and Jim Bro, who was Cercie's boyfriend at the time. And I was in a class with Cercie, arranging class with Pat Hollenbeck as teacher at NEC, graduate class, I got to know her. Soon after that I heard a concert of Steve Adams called 'My Night at The Cove,' it was a little loft in 295 Hunington Avenue upstairs and he did all these things that I had dabbled in: He played solo with a dancer, which I had done; a contact improv guy who carried him off stage playing the alto; he did sax quartet, I'd been in classical sax quartets all through college, but never done a jazz improvising one, but I like the World Saxophone Quartet, I knew about them and Rova. I was familar with them and I thought of that. And he played duo with Ken Filiano, bass and sax. He was obviously like a jazz guy but he was also experimental and free and I thought, "Oh, this guy is pretty interesting," but I had never met him I just went to the concert with my then-girlfriend, who was a dancer. After the concert she said, "So what did you think?" "Well, he's interesting. He does a lot of things-" "He's like you. He's kinda like you, you should know this guy. He's doing all the same things you are interested in." So we ended up being best friends within a year. But that was the first time I heard him and I heard the sax quartet, I went to another one of their gigs, then they knew Danny was leaving, also Tom Hall was on the road with a funk band. Tom was in a band called The Lords that toured all over playing real funk from Washington DC, where he is from. So I started rehearsing with them, we did concerts, blah, blah, blah, went on for years. We finally decided to make a record ourselves, we made an LP. We played all over New England, we played two gigs in New York, but mostly from Brattleboro to Portland to Maine to Providence - that kind of circle around Boston. FB: You think that'd be a hard sell, but damn, maybe in New England... AC: We played rock clubs, we opened for tap dance gigs by Leon Collins, many times as The Tam we opened for Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, which is like a synthesiser rock... FB: Sure, with Michael Bierylo? AC: He wasn't in it yet, but it was Roger Miller from Burma and uh ... I'm blanking on names that I know so well. But they were this experimental, post-punk art band. We played at the Common Ground, sometimes we were the headliners. We opened for people, we opened at Jonathan Swift's for (Aierto), Flora Purim and Joe Farell. We opened for Old e New Dreams, Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Ed Blackwell and Charlie Haden at Jonathan Swift's. Maybe for Carla Bley once, but I'm not sure. No, I don't think we did, I think we might have opened for the Art Ensemble of Chicago. We opened for one of the first real popular, funny a capella groups called The Bobs. We played (Night's stay) with them, double-bill, twice. We played at the iron horse with Rova and with The Bobs. We did have gigs, we played something like 100 times in five years, which is pretty good for a sax quartet. And we used to rent spaces, Gallery East, downtown Boston and a dance place on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge and First Congregational Church in Harvard Square. We'd put on our own concerts and we'd get a hundred people, pay for the room, make a little money. FB: I reviewed one of those Harvard Square ones. AC: I think I remember that, yes. We didn't get any national recognition, but we made an LP, we put it out, Cadence Magazine distributed it, and we sold it at gigs. Then Cercie left the band, she was in a band called Girls' Night Out with Didi Stewart, who teaches at Berklee now, very successful, all-women, oldies and rock band. FB: Was Mayana in that band? AC: Mayana and Cercie were the horns. Actually quite a few people who might have to do with...uh. (Alison Lizence) who teaches in the harmony department here, played keyboards. It was excellent veterans of rock 'n' roll and pop and jazz and so on getting together to do what originally was almost like a joke but it reall caught on. They were on national TV a couple of times, they played a... FB: Refreshing. AC: They had a lot of connections and they made a record and stuff. Cercie had to commit to this and couldn't block out dates for us to play gigs, left the sax quartet, reluctantly, and we had two guys, Ben Schachter and Bob Jung, who played with us at different times depending on their availability. And a guy in Amsterdam who was a publisher of translated avant-guard novels, George Coppins, had a little record label and had booked the 29th Street Sax Quartet and some Tristano Disciples around Europe. And even the first World Saxophone gigs in Europe were booked David Murray gigs and Sunny Murray also. He was into this sort of thing. A sort of a dabbler in the music business; he had a little record label, put out a few CDs and LPs. And The Microscopic Septet, he also put them out, saxes with rhythm section, who I later knew. He got a hold of our LP, it was in the Amsterdam City Library. The librarian was his friend and called him and said, "Have you heard this, there is a sax quartet from Boston and it's just your cup of tea?" And he called Ben Schachter, some how he got Ben's phone number, which I have no idea how, because he isn't on the record, Cercie's on the record. And Ben came to rehearsal and said, "This guy from Holland called me and asked for a live casette of us to see if we could play as well live as we do on the album." We were like, "What? What are you talking about?" Steve called the guy back, George Coppins. We sent him a casette of a hot gig we had at the Green Street Grill, what it was called, Charlie's Tap - a really lively gig where we were getting intense and having fun, there was an audience. He loved it and he booked us like eleven tours of Europe over the next five to six years. We played some major festivals. We made five CDs for him between '86 and '92, maybe, I am guessing. I can't quite remember when the very last one, maybe a little later like '94 because we did the Sun Ra one around the time I was writing my master's thesis on Sun Ra at Tufts. FB: Plutonium Nights. AC: Yes, you remember that. It was mostly original music. It was an improvising saxophone quartet. We played the Bimhuis in Amsterdam. We played every town that has jazz in Holland many times. And then we played in Germany, Austria, a little bit in France, not in Paris but in Lyon and Valence and some different places, and London in The 100 Club, where the Rolling Stones play sometimes - 100 Oxford Street, strangely enough we played there, twice. It was great. FB: They used to have traditional jazz there with Humphrey Lyttelton. AC: We played Hanover Jazz Festival, sometimes we would play avant-garde venues. One time Gunther Christman presented us in some place called The Ice House, it was like a cave. FB: Tell us a little bit about the musical background of this group. You really broke down all barriers. You could play funk; you could play sweet, classical stuff in the Joe Viola tradition; you could rock out; you could go avant-garde; you could play swing, bebop. No holds barred. AC: We really did all those things. We played Charlie Parker's My Little Suede Shoes with a sax soli that I arranged. And we would play a reggae tune, a Jimmy Cliff tune. And we would play free improvisation. All kinds of stuff, it was really all over the map and that's what we listened to. It was a very eclectic time. This was in the 80s and the people we listened to were like that too. I think influences were probably Carla Bley's band, The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Those were two things that were, they would play a little bit of funk, a then like gongs and chanting and poetry and then a little sort of parody bebop thing. Carla's band would have rock beats in jazz and ballads. We did Nino Rota arrangements from film music from Eight and a Half. It was kind of like you know what downtown tastes were in those days. For a sax quartet it did have energy and it was fairly popular. We were on TV in Germany and Netherlands. It reached a lot of people. FB: I should think so. These people are used to Willem Breuker. AC: Yes, it was very in sync with that sort of thing. Steve left to join Rova. We did some double bills with Rova. We even improvised as an octet once in Cercie's basement which have a casette of, ah, two sax quartets. They hired Steve when Andrew Voigt left Rova and he moved to California and had been there for twenty years now. Joel Springer, who is an old friend of (Net Derios) from Bloomington, Indiana, who perfect for the group joined us. Lately, we still exist very sporadically with Cercie back in the group again. FB: We need more of this 'all-horn' stuff. I would love to hear more of this. Since Julius Hemphill died. Marty Ehrlich carries on a little of this stuff. You've spawned groups like Dead Cat Bounce. AC: True. Yeah, that's a related concept. At this point I don't think many of those younger groups are even aware of Your Neighbourhood Saxophone Quartet even though that guy from Dead Cat Bounce was my student.