Equinox at Kinoulton

(May 27, 2007)
On Saturday 26th May, Equinox played the second concert of their May programme at St Luke's Church, Kinoulton.
St Luke's is starting a fundraising programme to raise money for the church bell tower, which is in need of restoration.  Equinox use the church regularly as a rehearsal space so were delighted to be able to stage this concert to contribute to the tower fund.
Thanks to excellent support from a capacity audience, fundraising got off to a great start.
Equinox aim to show the versatility of the whole saxophone family, and the varied programme reflected that.  With a line up of nine sax players plus a percussionist, this concert showed not only the instrument's capabilities but also the flexibility of the players.
From a rousing start with the full group in Gavin Whitlock's 'Midnight in Kinsale', slightly reduced forces then played Vivaldi's Concerto Op 8 No 2 ('Il Cimiento') originally for violin and string orchestra, showing great delicacy and detail. 
The next item featured a somewhat more conventional combination of four players on soprano (Alistair Parnell), alto (Nicola Pennill), tenor (James Crockford) and baritone (Michelle Phillips). In this combination - the saxophone equivalent of a string quartet - this foursome presented a stylish performance of Roberto di Marino's 'Tanguillo' from his Quartetto II.
Alistair Parnell introduced what for many was something completely new - his electronic wind instrument (EWI), showing its extraordinary capabilities and range.  As always, the combination of novelty and the sheer virtuosity of his playing was irresistible - leading to lots of interested questions in the interval.
The first half concluded with Alistair's arrangement of four movements of Percy Grainger's 'Lincolnshire Posy', for the full combination of instruments.  The presence of the mighty bass sax, played beautifully by James Crockford, contributed to what at times was a powerful, almost orchestral sound.  Daniel Christian on alto saxophone then featured in Alun Cook's witty 'Boris Goes to Dublin' in a version arranged specially for Equinox.
Equinox playing
Photo Andrew Pennill
The second half began in a more reflective mood.  In her arrangement of the Adagio and Allegro non presto from Albinoni's Oboe Concerto Op 9 No 2, Nicola Pennill further demonstrated the chameleon-like character of the instrument, as her soprano sax comfortably adapted to the role of solo oboe.  She was accompanied with sensitivity by Matt Lond (baritone), Becky Deans (tenor), Daniel Christian (alto) and Alistair Parnell (soprano and piano).
Astor Piazzola's evocative 'Oblivion', arranged by group member James Crockford, included solos from Michelle Phillips on baritone saxophone and Alistair Parnell on the tiny sopranino saxophone, the smallest instrument in the group's range of eight instruments.
Shifting effortlessly to a more jazz-inspired idiom, the group romped through Pedro Iturralde's energetic 'Suite Hellenique', a plate-smashing medley of Greek dancing and funky rhythms. 
Gayle Lond on soprano saxophone and Alistair Parnell on piano made light work of Villa Lobos' 'Fantasia' in a polished performance of this challenging original work for saxophone.
Time seemed to stand still when Alistair Parnell played his haunting 'Lament', recreating the visceral sound of the uillean pipes on his soprano saxophone.  The audience were roused to life by the seamless transition into the foot-tapping 'Riverdance' by Bill Whelan, with its exciting cross rhythms further enhanced by Jon Oldershaw on drums.  After a jazzy rendition of Van Morrison's 'Moondance', the concert closed with the group's encore of Richard Ingham's 'Mrs Malcolm, Her Reel', featuring a blistering solo on tenor sax from Mike Gunn.
"It was a privelige to be here"
"Truly a revelation!"

Click here to return to the News page