“In addition to displaying as much taste as another drummer named [Roy] Haynes, Phil turns in such varied and colorful scores that nothing here sounds like a percussion concerto, except the gorgeous “Ballad for Heike,” which is supposed to. A“ - Francis Davis
When I first considered forming a second band in late 1986, I was trying to reconcile an interesting set of aesthetics: I wanted a band that could play most situations without amplification, a band that would whisper one moment and raise the roof the next, an ensemble built around the intimate dialogue of a good duet, a small group with wide instrumental color, a big band inspired contrapuntal ability, and a format where I would be challenged to assume equality with the front line. The prospect of combining two brass players with two saxophonists and drums became the irresistible solution.
4 Horns & What? utilizes the African concept of direct conversational interplay between rhythm and melody. By excluding other rhythm section players, the intimacy of the drum/horn dialogue becomes the norm. In this format, harmony returns to its polyphonic roots as an extension of the collective blowing. The result is a wide-open, acoustic, improviser’s band, where everyone shares equal responsibility for solos, accompaniment, and time keeping. - Phil Haynes