Leading a new band and defining its sound is already no small task. But making two LPs in that band’s first year is a mark of unbridled creative passion. Saturn Quartet had just released its first album, Synchronicities, to rave reviews in 2022, and bandleader Robin Sherman was already pushing ahead to get into the studio for a follow-up record.
Though initially hesitant, his bandmates jumped on board after hearing Sherman map out his plans for an eclectic, boundary-defying LP that would push the group into uncharted terrain. Since the band was spread out across the Eastern seaboard, its best opportunity to keep refining its sound would come in the studio.
Honoring this impetus, Luz marks the turning of a page from Saturn Quartet’s debut. The sound still has the same warmth that made Synchronicities so inviting, but it also feels cleaner and more full-bodied. These traits unify an album that otherwise spans a wide range of genres and textures – even with the first listen, it’s abundantly clear that Saturn Quartet wasted no time following their collective voice wherever it might take them.
Luz opens with “Three of a Kind,” a deceptively simple, subdued tune by New Orleans-based trumpeter Emily Mikesell. It then jumps about, from the hushed beauty of “Wild Is The Wind” to the chaotic urgency of “Told You,” an original tune by bassist and bandleader Robin Sherman. This gives way to an even starker contrast, between a cover of Jerry Goldsmith’s “Hollow Man,” written for the eponymous horror film, and “Mr. Lucky,” a cheerful tune that Henry Mancini composed for the titular daytime TV show.
The rest of the album is rounded out by three ambitious compositions. The title track, “Luz,” playfully deconstructs the Brazilian pop classic song by Djavan. Then, pianist Brendan Polk’s “Ben” is a joyful, reflective mid-tempo swinger that pays tribute to legendary Savannah, GA bassist Ben Tucker, who mentored Polk in his high school days. The album is closed out by “Mitsuda,” Ricardo Pascal’s tribute to Yasunori Mitsuda, who composed soundtracks for the classic video game series, Chrono. A restrained, multi-layered eruption of sound, “Mitsuda,” like the rest of the album, rewards the patient listener.
About The Band:
Saturn Quartet was formed in 2020 by bassist Robin Sherman after the sudden death of his father, world-renowned guitarist Jack Sherman. Amidst the isolation of the pandemic, the shock of this loss inspired Sherman to seize the moment by forming a band with his closest friends, even though the pianist, Brendan Polk, lived over 1,000 miles from the group's homebase in New Orleans.
Their debut album, Synchronicities, was recorded to tape with minimal isolation and no overdubs, giving way to a warmth, grit, and intimacy that capture the sound of the room like an old Blue Note recording.
Since releasing Synchronicities in 2022, they have toured across the Southeast US, and their music has been broadcast on syndicated radio programs throughout the US and UK. More US performance dates are scheduled through April, and a European tour is in the works.