Equinox Face the MusicThursday 05 Dec 2013
Equinox, the Netherlands-based jazz band include Dubliner Johnny Daly in the line-up (he plays bass.) The hard-working ensemble has won deserved praise from Riverdance composer Bill Whelan. He has described the quintet as "entertaining and accessible, cool and lucid, exciting and virtuosic."
Three of the band members hail from Holland, tenor saxophonist Sjoerd Dijkhuisen, Marcel Serierse (drums) and Bob Wijnen on piano. American guitarist Dan Nicholas moved to Holland in 2001.
The new album, Face the Music, combines original tunes with innovative, supple readings of lesser-known classics. It comes with a stylish, fifteen-minute DVD featuring three extra tracks. The DVD session begins with a performance of One Flight Down by Cedar Walton, a particularly reflective, rich reading of Cliffford Jordan’s Down Through the Years and Dan Nicholas’ tune, Keepers of the Flame.
The actual album disc begins with another composition by Dan Nicholas, the upbeat, good-time title track, with shades of Wayne Shorter. Next up is Kurt Weill’s This Is New from the Broadway musical, Lady in the Dark, the band's instrumental take on a song first performed by Gertrude Lawrence and Victor Mature in 1941. The piece maintains the agile, yet light-fingered mood of the first track. Who Killed Cock Robin? is next up, an instrumental treatment of another song, one which first appeared in a 1960s play about heroin use among jazz musicians. Not that you would know there was a dark background, as the mood is bright and bouncy, as it is on Charles Mingus’ Jump Monk, which follows.
But all that clement weather has to break sometime, and if you tried to bring bebop effervescence to Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, you’d just ruin it, right? So the ensemble do the decent thing and lay it down gently waltz-time. Then it’s a busy bossanova tempo on Book’s Bossa, from the pen of bassist Walter Booker. All in all, Face The Music is a worthwhile investment if you want jazz that is well-lit, open-hearted and accessible.