(Review – Geoff Jenke)
The ticket read Sax to the Max was to held at the Clayton Wesley Uniting Church on the corner of The Parade and Portrush Road. When we arrived, we looked for a hall at the rear but much to our surprise, the show was held in the main church. And a show with as much quality as this, so it had to be.
Sax to the Max are four saxophonists in Lindsay Heesom (Baritone sax) and Kym Gluyas (Tenor sax) who are original members, along with Sylvan “Schmoe” Elhay (Soprano Sax) and Steve Eads (Alto Sax). I must admit that the show was not what I was expecting, which was the band playing “popular” (as in pop/rock) songs with maybe a bit of a jazz feel. However, from the opening number they had me hooked with their superb and magical playing.
After the first tune, Scherzo for Saxophone Quartet, we were given a brief history of the saxophone (“putting holes in a pipe and blowing it”) which was extremely interesting. Of course, once the instrument was invented, there was no music specially written for it, with musicians having to adopt other tunes for the sax.
That soon changed with people like Gabriel Pierne writing pieces specifically for the instrument. The quartet played Gabriel’s first piece written for the sax, “Introduction et variations sur une ronde Populaire”. The harmonies and solos played were a delight to listen to.
The classic tune Boler oby Ravel, made famous in the Bo Derek movie 10, was played but they promised not to play the full 19 minutes of it, explaining when written, it was basically just a few notes played over and over. Ravel refused to expand or add to them.
Highlight of the set were 3 songs by jazz giant Charlie “Bird” Parker, merged into one. The jazz tones were wonderful, with the quartet working marvellously, alone and in harmony.
The show was a perfect fusion of big band sound with jazz and a little bebop added for good effect. Maybe this show would have been better off under the Adelaide Festival umbrella, but such is the wonderful diversity of The Fringe, that it sits comfortably under that brand.
Unfortunately, this was a very brief season for the Fringe and has now finished, but if interested, they will be playing at 1pm on Tuesday 30thApril at the Flinders Street Baptist Church. Catch them if you can
SAXISM at its best.