The Tiptons are an all-female sax quartet with percussion, based in Seattle. The group features Jessica Lurie and Amy Denio, original members and the lead composers of the internationally renowned Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet (BTMSQ). They are joined by saxophonists Tobi Stone and Tina Richerson, and percussionist Elizabeth Pupo Walker. All of the members share in composing and arranging - and their dynamic repertoire includes some fabulous singing as well! With a repertoire that ranges from New Orleans jump groove to hip hop, punk to East European, klezmer and beyond, the Tiptons create some of the wildest sounds ever to come out of a sax quartet. Their unforgettable, playful concerts feature high-energy interaction between members, and a repertoire that touches on soulful music from around the world.
In March 2003, The Tiptons produced a five song EP featuring brand new material for the group, and performed at The Women in Movement in New Mexico Music Festival and at the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival in Topeka, Kansas, and toured the West Coast in October, 2003. In February, 2004, they released Tsunami on their own label, and they performed 14 concerts in Italy, Germany, Austria and Slovenia, to much acclaim. During their Fall, 2004 West Coast tour, they were featured at the 2004 Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle. They will tour Europe in Spring, 2005.
BTMSQ was originally founded in 1988, and chose its name to pay tribute to big band saxophonist and pianist Billy Tipton, following the postmortem revelation that Tipton was actually a woman who lived as a man for more than 50 years. Many believe that this allowed Tipton to pursue a career in the male-dominated world of jazz. Not to be bound by convention, the Tiptons similarly do their own thing.
As BTMSQ they received grants to travel to Tallinn, Estonia, to collaborate and record with Ne Zhdali; to compose music for sax quartet and three Metro buses; to perform and collaborate with Russian musicians at the Goodwill Arts Festival in Seattle, and to research, arrange and perform music by women instrumentalists in jazz. They have worked closely with the Pat Graney Dance Company, and have shared the stage with the likes of the Indigo Girls, Wayne Horvitz, Oliver Lake, Zap Mama, Richard Thompson and Iva Bittova. The group has toured Europe eight times, playing to sold-out houses, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, the MIMI Festival in Arles, France, Horfest in Austria and Klinkende Munt Music Festival in Brussels. They have also been featured at the du Maurier Jazz Festival in Vancouver, BC, 1994 Gay Games in New York City, the Michigan Women's Music Festival, Bumbershoot Music Festival in Seattle, and performed concerts all over North America.