Zeitgeist's 5th Annual New Music Cabaret features an eclectic variety of new music from the top musicians in the Twin Cities, including Nathan Hanson's Saxophone Choir, a recently-formed collection of saxophonists with distinct personal voices.

Composer/saxophonist Nathan Hanson has been described as “unexpectedly tasteful and dignified” and has performed with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Taylor, Mark Dresser, and Chris Potter. We were pleased to speak with him this week to find out how his saxophone choir project came to life.

How did this saxophone choir get started?

The saxophone choir started when I proposed that the Twin Cities Jazz Society make it part of their Jazz from J to Z series in March 2012. In January 2013, we were played at the Cedar Cultural Center for their 416 Club commissioning series. And now in November, we're at Studio Z. There are so many distinctive saxophone voices in the area, and I wanted to assemble them all.

What can we expect to hear at your New Music Cabaret performance?

We'll present some pieces that I wrote for the group, and some pieces by other composers (Jacques Thollot, Carei Thomas) that I arranged for the choir.

What were your biggest influences in writing this music?

The influences for this project include big band saxophone sections, other ensembles of like instruments, Bulgarian choirs, R&B horn sections, but mostly the individual personalities that make up this saxophone choir. It is organized like a hybrid of a big band saxophone section and a vocal ensemble. I'm excited to gather such a collection of saxophonists with distinct personal voices. We'll be exploring the textural and harmonic possibilities of such an assembly.

Zeitgeist's New Music Cabaret
Nov. 7-10
(Nathan Hanson Saxophone Choir performs Sunday, Nov. 10 at 9 p.m.)
Studio Z: 275 E. 4th Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
Tickets are $10 each night and can be purchased here.

Nathan Hanson