•Group features Fresno bassist Richard Giddens
•After the tour, the quartet will begin recording an album
Most bands go on tour to support the release of a new album.
Gavin Templeton works in reverse.
His tours are preparation.
“There is a comfort level that develops,” says Templeton, a jazz saxophonist and composer who has been called a pivotal force in Los Angeles’ progressive jazz scene. It is on the road, hanging out with his fellow musicians, that he really gets familiar with his band and the set of songs that eventually will become an album.
“It really evolves in interesting and strange ways when you are on the road playing every night,” says Templeton, in the midst of a five-city West Coast tour with The Gavin Templeton Quartet — pianist Joshua White, drummer Gene Coye and Fresno bassist Richard Giddens.
The group plays 7 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at Arte Americas.
It’s the last show of the tour and after, the band will go straight into the studio to record an album, which will be released on the Los Angeles label Orenda Records. The label released Templeton’s album “Some Spinning, Some at Rest,” which was recorded as a trio with Coye and Giddens.
White was added to the group and played his first show last August.
The quartet is often classified as avant-garde, though for Templeton, the descriptor doesn’t quite fit.
He is a composer. As such, he writes songs; melodic and harmonic compositions created with members of the quartet in mind.
That said, “they’re all amazing improvisers,” he says.
Templeton describes the band’s sound as loose, then adds a clarification.
He’s not talking about the players’ interactions. He’s describing their ability to improvise within the structure of a song — or even change the structure when needed.
“Sometimes we’ll hang on a melody. Maybe switch it around,” Templeton says.
“It can be dramatically different from one performance to the next.”