Saturday, November 9, 2013

Equinox: Face The Music

.... inspired by the atmosphere of the 1950s Blue Note jazz era
... featuring some great film fragments of a live performance
Hans Koert

Equinox ……. Most of you will relate this name to an astronomical event rather than to a jazz quintet …..  Well, for me, since I heard its first album Here & Now Equinox is a group of jazz musicians that heads of the list of bands I love to hear in concert …… A few weeks ago its latest album Face The Music was released.

Equinox: f.l.t.r.: Dan Nicholas - Johnny Daly - Sjoerd Dijkhuizen - Bob Wijnen - Marcel Serierse (photo courtesy Piet Gispen)

This quintet, based in The Hague, was founded by the American guitarist Dan Nicholas and the Irish bass player Johnny Daly. In 2006 both jazz musicians, impressed by the rich Dutch jazz climate organized high level live jazz concerts in The Hague.  In September 2008 Equinox, a quartet featuring the two founding members and two US musicians ( Chris Johansen on sax and A. J. Davis on drums) debuted on record with their album Equinox and now, five years later, the group, a quintet now, presents itself at its latest album Face the Music. 
Equinox features Dan Nicholas at the guitar - Johnny Daly double bass – Sjoerd Dijkhuizen tenor saxophone – Bob Wijnen piano and Marcel Serierse drums.

Marcel Serierse (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

 Ten tracks, in fact thirteen, most standards, have been selected, like Jump Monk, a tribute Charles Mingus wrote mid 1950s for Thelonious Monk; Who Killed Cock Robin? debuted by Freddie Redd’s Quartet at a 1960 Blue Note; the great ballad Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most and a great version of Tina Brooks composition Open Sesame, which became known as the title song of Freddy Hubbard’s 1960 Blue Note album; the latter belongs to my favorites of this album – a tune which characterizes the selections Equinox made ……. What might be the reason that this composition is recorded but few times during the past half century?

Sjoerd Dijkhuizen (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Special guest in I Think It’s Time To Say Goodbye Again is the South African vocalist Tutu Puoane, now living in Antwerp. The final track, As Long As There’s Music, was selected in remembering the Dutch piano player Frans Elsen, who recently passed away. He was a regular guest at the piano stool at the Equinox live concerts. Frans recorded this tune in 2006 with the Axel Hagen Quartet …..

Tutu Puoane (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

What a surprise to learn that Equinox also released a DVD, part of the album,  with three more tracks to this audio album, recorded on film at a 2012 concert in Ireland? Three tunes, two standards and one composition by guitarist Dan Nicholas, who is also responsible for the title song of the album: Face The Music and Round and Round ….   This DVD is really a great surprise ..... it contains three tunes, except Keepers of the Flame, the Dan Nicholas composition, also the 1961 Clifford Jordan composition Down Through The Years and the great One Flight Down, a Cedar Walton compositions, both recorded for the very first time at a Jazzland LP by the Clifford Jordan Quintet ( June 1961). A DVD as an extra is not unique now a days, but these three fragments from a 2012 Dublin concert, shot in black and white, expresses the atmosphere of the jazz music as played in the 1950s in small clubs in the States  ….. like the black and white Blue Note photos by Francis Wolff ….  The only thing missing is the smoke of the cigarettes …..


Hans Koert
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Equinox, a The Hague based jazz quintet, released, five years after its debut with the album Here & Now,  a new album entitled Face The Music - more then a dozen tracks, on a cd and a dvd, recorded live, brings back the atmosphere of the music of the 1950 Blue Note Jazz era .... A must have!

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