I founded Saxtet while I was a saxophone student at the Birmingham School of Music (UK) in 1985. It began life as a saxophone quartet. The group's early success came from busking (playing on the street) in their home city. This much maligned activity is a great leveller for musicians. If the group was good, people stopped, if not the worst that happened was your audience melted away. Soon the group started working other towns and cities, in the UK and abroad. By the time it's busking life was over the group had played Leicester Square London, Washington Square New York, Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne and Florence. The group became fully professional and concert tours of Germany, the USA and the Caribbean followed.
Our first CD Montage was recorded in 1990 and in the same year we performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe attracting the attention of media and promoters from all over the world leading to a six-week world tour taking in India, Singapore, Borneo, the International Arts Festival in Wellington, New Zealand and Hawaii.
Expansion from quartet to quintet came in 1993 for our second CD Safer Sax, a collection of our own original compositions. It also coincided with the creation of Saxtet Publications, which I established to help print and distribute the player's pieces to this day.
This programme was again taken to the Pleasance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the World Saxophone Congress, Pesaro, Italy, Germany, Jamaica and individual concerts all over the UK and Germany. TV and radio appearances have included BBC Radio 4 "Loose Ends", BBC1 "Pebble Mill", and "Children in Need".
In the mid 90s I decided to step back from the group for personal reasons. However, Saxtet continued to evolve and in February 1997 it gave the first performances of Autogeddon at the Pleasance London. The music was composed by Eddie Parker and commissioned by Saxtet with Arts Council funding, after which the group finally disbanded.
Over many years, Saxtet's line-up inevitably reshuffled over time. There were many deps and guests along the way so this list is not intended to be exhaustive.
Here are some of the primary members in rough order of era:
Nigel Wood (me)