Saul Berson Quartet
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Saul Berson Quartet

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF | AFM

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF | AFM
Band Jazz World


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This band has not uploaded any videos



""Intricacy" CD Review June 28/08" - Georgia Straight

"Link to March 28/08 review" - The Jewish Independent

"Review of Quartet" - Georgia Straight

"ejazz news"

CD Reviews: Saul Berson Quartet, “Intricacy”
Posted by: editoron Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 10:56 AM

By: Edward Blanco

Based in the Vancouver area, the Saul Berson Quartet presents us with their third offering since the band’s establishment in 1998. Leader and alto saxophonist Berson has been performing for 25 years and during that time has delved into the world and Avant-Garde musical styles influencing the music on this recording. The music is non-traditional jazz incorporating Arabian rhythms as well using non-traditional instruments. The band uses the accordion, discards the standard drum and employs the classic Middle Eastern drum (darbuka) on one track.

Though unconventional in style, the music is still quite good. With the exception of Duke Ellington’s “KoKo,” pianist Kim Darwin’s “Middle Class Dance” and the Klenner/Lewis standard “Just Friends,” Berson provides all original compositions here. Besides Berson playing the alto, the band includes Darwin on the piano and accordion, Tony Wilson on guitar and Paul Blaney on bass. Boris Sichon sits in on track eight playing the darbuka.

The two tracks with a decidedly heavy Middle Eastern flavor on the album are, Darwin’s “Middle Class Dance” and “Corner of Cairo & Main” where Darwin uses the accordion and guest Sichon drums the darbuka. The second track, “What The…?” plays out in the Avant-Garde fashion.

Berson, while featured throughout, shines on the beautiful ballad-like “Fragile Reality” with an exquisite solo. This tune along with the buoyant “Just Do It,” the exotic “Allure” and the classic “Just Friends” come across in a more contemporary jazz mode.

Delivering an uncommon approach to modern jazz, The Saul Berson Quartet lays down quite an interesting, engaging and impressive musical statement with “Intricacy.” This is definitely not your average jazz band so be prepared to hear something new and dare I say it, “intricate” and not at all standard with this album.

Year: 2007
Label: Moco Loco Productions

- ejazz: the #1 jazz news online

"Vancouver Jazz Festival review"

Saul Berson plays a beautifully toned alto that is reminiscent of the sound of Cannonball Adderley. Although he is a stalwart in the NOW orchestra, he is much more effective in a small group context. The band played a mixture of out pieces and standards that were spellbinding for the late-night crowd. Tony Wilson's guitar playing has quite melodic and complemented Berson perfectly. Berson's creative juices kept flowing, and the band grooved on high. Berson is a highly competent musician and a great discovery for me.

- by Frank Rubolino


Saul Berson Quartet, From Here to Beyond (1998)
Saul Berson Quartet, Not Here, Not Now (2002)
Saul Berson Quartet, Intricacy (2007)
All CD’s are available at, iTunes and other forms of electronic distribution



The Saul Berson jazz quartet creates an eclectic mix of music incorporating Middle-eastern overtones with a pinch of Piazzolla thrown in for good measure. This Vancouver-based group, established in 1998, follows an original path that encompasses a broad range of acoustic jazz styles.

The Saul Berson Quartet's third CD, Intricacy, was recently nominated in the Outstanding Jazz Recording category for the 2008 Western Canadian Music Awards.

Principal events featuring the Saul Berson Quartet

2009- Tour of Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island
2008- Tour of Okanagan, BC
2007 Mini tour to promote new CD release
1998-2010 Annual performances at the Vancouver
International Jazz festival
2007- CBC Radio live performance and recording
2005- 06 Chutzpah! Festival
2004- Gulf Islands tour
2004- Pender Harbour Jazz Festival
2004- Jewish Writers’ Festival
2003- CBC Hot Air studio session
2003- Gibson Jazz Festival
2002- Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle, WA
2000- Montreal International Jazz Festival –(Finalists in the Grand Prix de Jazz General Motors and the Socan Awards competition)
1999- Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival


“Saul Berson alto solo is pure blues”

“Alto man Saul Berson’s rich tone is the key in this unit that explores the point where Middle Eastern and tango music meet”
-Stuart Derdeyn, THE PROVINCE

"Fine stuff! What a treat, what a nice disc!
I love this disc; I am going to put it in my big bin for my end of the year ‘Hit List’ roundup…the music just makes me smile…Well done, may it sell millions!”

“Berson balances the delicacy of his tone with the full-bodied and culturally infused sound of the accordion to bring forth in music many of his influences”.

“Berson’s eclecticism has helped to make him one of the busiest musicians around town”

“Saul Berson has a perfect, burnished saxophone tone that carves new paths through territory we had thought fully mapped."

“Berson has command of the tricky melodic and rhythmic terrain of standard Bop idiom”
– Mike Chamberlain, PLANET JAZZ

Biographies of the members:

Saul Berson

For the past 25 years as a professional musician, Saul has been exploring an extensive array of stylistic ground from jazz standards to Klezmer to the Avant-Garde. This broad range of interest has influenced his compositions and the overall musical direction of the quartet. Saul has performed with international artists including Jaki Byard, Steve Grossman, George Lewis and Barry Guy and has studied at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts (1979, 1983) with Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Anthony Braxton, Kenny Wheeler and Albert Mangelsdorff. In Vancouver, Saul studied with Jack Stafford and Fraser MacPherson

In addition to the Saul Berson Quartet, he currently performs with
The Hard Rubber, NOW, Dal Richards Orchestras as well as the Jewish music band, Tzimmes. When not performing with these groups, Saul leads a busy career as a freelance musician. He has been a member of the AFM Local 145 since 1985

Kim Darwin
Kim is a masterful accordionist as well as an accomplished pianist and composer. The Canada Council for the Arts has recognized Kim’s talent as a composer and performer by awarding him a grant for specialized music sound recording. Kim has produced an album of his original compositions Accordion Nights.

Tony Wilson
Tony has studied with many acclaimed jazz musicians including Oliver Gannon, Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Kevin Eubanks and Steve Coleman. He has won a West Coast Music Award with his band, Video Barbeque and released the critically acclaimed ‘Lowest Note’ in 2001, which went on to become a pick of the year in the Globe and Mail.
Tony’s compositions have been played by artists as diverse as the NOW Orchestra, The Hard Rubber Orchestra, Myra Melford, Kokoro Dance, Marilyn Crispell, François Houle and Zubot & Dawson

Paul Blaney
Paul is one of the most active bass players in Vancouver. He is in demand for both his Mainstream and Avant-guard jazz styles. He has toured Canada and Europe extensively, performing and recording with many great musicians including John Handy, Ernestine Anderson, Eddy Harris and Ingrid Jenson.