GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

April 16, 2009

Saxophonists highlight spring festival

Two veteran saxophone musicians will perform here this weekend in separate concerts as part of a spring festival hosted by Blackburn Performing Arts.

The festival kicks off tomorrow night with Henley Douglas and the Soultet. Saturday evening features Mike Tucker with his new quintet. Both performances are at 8 p.m. at the arts center at One Washington Street at The Blackburn Building in Gloucester.

Henley Douglas, a master of the tenor, baritone and soprano saxes, has been described as a "one-man sax tornado." He has performed across the continent from the Montreal Jazz Festival to the San Jose Jazz Festival. He has been a fixture of the Boston music scene for more than 20 years. He first established himself by forming the acclaimed Heavy Metal Horns with bandmate Garret Savluk. The group went on to record with the Del Fuegos and James Montgomery as well as accompanied the group Extreme on a six-month world tour.

The sounds of saxophone continue Saturday with Tucker, who has performed as a leader and a side man. In 2002 he competed as a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in Washington, D.C. He later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where his career got a jump start. Tucker and his quartet have performed at jazz festivals around the world. On his home turf, he has performed at the Kennedy Center, and The JVC Jazz Festival in New York City. Tucker has appeared on nationally syndicated jazz radio shows including Toast of the Nation on NPR, Voice of America, and on XM Satellite Radio Jazz and Beyond.

On his return to Gloucester, where he fills the house, Tucker plays with his new quintet, comprised of Michael Palma on keyboards, Lee Fish on drums, Dan Carpel on string bass and Greg Duncan on guitar. In the past year, Tucker has been busy touring with Blue Note Recording artist Robin McKelle. This concert will premiere new compositions written by Tucker and his bandmates over the past year.

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