4 Horn Lore

4 Horns & What?

4 Horn Lore

Open Minds 2413
Ellery Eskelin, tenor saxophone; Andy Laster, flute, alto/baritone saxophones; Paul Smoker, trumpet; Herb Robertson, multi-brass









 certainly makes the list of top 10 recordings I’ve been associated with 

A sequel worthy of our debut plus a personal triumph as a composer / arranger

 ~ Phil






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, two saxophonists & 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 timekeeping.

~ Phil Haynes









“. . . belligerent . . . polished . . .

bits of brass band music . . . jazz . . . chamber music . . .

free improvisation,with piles of [4 Horns & What?] sound heaped on each other,

writhing . . .”


– Peter Watrous, The New York Times









Adrienne’s JazzMarchRag






 Some Sick Slick