Reviewers Have High Praise for Five Piece Combo 

POP QUIZ: According to reviewers, our album of music by Don Gillis is:

a. “sheer enjoyment”
b. “expertly rehearsed”
c. “a welcome addition to recorded wind quintet music”
d. “some of the most engaging music in this genre”
e. “a delight from start to finish”
f.  all of the above

The correct answer is “f”! We are so thrilled that critics and colleagues enjoy this music as much as we do. Six months later, we’re still hearing from folks who are listening to Five Piece Combo and loving it. If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to…



Praise for Five Piece Combo:

“[T]he composer’s three suites for wind quintet are skillfully crafted and chock-full of fun, especially in the Madera Wind Quintet’s expertly rehearsed, mostly idiomatic performances. … On the whole, this enchanting disc ought to drum up interest in Gillis’ suites among woodwind players.”

— Jed Distler (Classics Today)


“One challenge with wind quintets (as opposed to string or brass groups) is that the instruments are not truly in the same family, as they produce tone in such disparate ways. That can make for an awkward blend, both in volume and sound. The Madera Wind Quintet has solved these differences neatly, with an attractive, homogenous sound and meticulously matched articulation and phrasing. The individual players show technical strength and stylistic versatility and play solo roles with aplomb. This enjoyable disc is recommended for wind quintet fans looking for something light, accessible, and little known.”

— American Record Guide (May/June 2016)


“Wind quintet pieces, jazz and folk tinged, very American. Play!”



“This interesting CD is a welcome addition to recorded wind quintet music. … The definite Jazz style work of ‘Five Piece Combo’ reminds me somewhat of Malcolm Arnold’s Three Sea Shanties, and this very enjoyable and perky music is written with just as much skill. This is some of the most engaging music I have heard in this genre, without trying to be contrived or clever. … If you don’t take yourself too seriously, you’ll really appreciate this disc. It’s a long time since I’ve come across a better disc for sheer enjoyment. All the players are very good, their blend and intonation is excellent, and they really toss off this music with aplomb.”

Geoff Pearce (Music & Vision)


“In questo CD licenziato dalla Ravello, lo spumeggiante quintetto di fiati Madera Wind Quintet (flauto, oboe, clarinetto, fagotto, corno) si dedica all’integrale del repertorio per tale organico scritto dal misconosciuto compositore americano Don Gillis (1912-1978). Si tratta di pagine briose, ben scritte, che a un solido ed equilibrato magistero compositivo uniscono una gran vitalità del materiale melodico e ritmico elaborato, intrecciato e finemente variato. Evidenti sono gli influssi popolari e jazzistici, come pure certa retorica rurale della musica americana di metà Novecento (talvolta sembra di assistere a un balletto del musical ‘Sette Spose per Sette Fratelli’, o di trovarsi nel bel mezzo di un Rodeo Coplandiano). Pur non brillando in originalità, queste suite offrono un ascolto gradevole e non banale, grazie anche alla sensibilità dei valenti musicisti che ne sono ottimi interpreti e avvocati.”

— Filippo Focosi (Kathodik)


“Thanks to Gillis’ fine sense of woodwind blending and the first-rate playing by the Madera Wind Quintet on a new Ravello CD, this first-ever recording of these three pieces is a delight from start to finish. … [T]he whole recording is so good-humored, the playing so well-balanced and so filled with verve, that the disc is simply a joy to hear.”