Today: Jul 12, 2024

Saxophone show helps audience ‘escape the grind’

J’Mari HughesReporter

On Saturday, May 4, the Lyman Center hosted “Sax to the Max,” an event featuring three saxophone players, Michael Lington, Paul Taylor and Vincent Ingala, as well as a backup band of guitars, drums and keyboards.

“This was one of the best shows I’ve attended all year long,” said Estela Taylor Green of Syracuse, N.Y. “I loved all the energy, it was just amazing.”

Lington, from Copenhagen, has performed for the Denmark royal family, released ten albums and has had 23 singles on contemporary jazz radio charts, according to Southern’s website. He invited the viewers to sign up to receive updates on whenever he releases a new music video, and also spent parts of the show in the audience, whether it was playing a ballad in front of the stage or marching around the theater playing jazz funk. The three players also initiated a “ladie’s choice” where all the women stood at the foot of the stage dancing and taking pictures of the musicians.

“I liked that they were able to get everybody up to enjoy it,” said Nydia Hancock, a Hartford resident, “because a lot of times people just sit and that’s okay, but music is to be enjoyed.”

Taylor is from Prospect, Conn. and has been a solo artist for over thirty years. The different styles he plays include funk, soul and EDM, while Ingala has made three Billboard number ones in contemporary jazz.

There were moments when the musicians told the audience to stand up and clap along, and sometimes the audience did so without being told. The night included never-ending applause and multiple standing ovations.

“We’ve been to the other concerts this year here and never have we seen a standing [ovation] like we did tonight,” Sirjohn Papageorge of Trumbull said. “They were so energetic tonight and you could see that they were comfortable here in New Haven and in this venue.”

Papageorge said he thinks all three players have a bright future ahead of them and that it was “too bad” they did not play any longer.

“There was so much talent on one stage, it’s crazy,” said Irene Papageorge. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”

The Papageorges both said they were surprised by the lack of students in the crowd, as the audience was made up mostly of adults. J. Dobbins of Orange said more students should have come to see what their aspirations could be and that one day, they could be onstage performing.

“The energy they bring, the feel of the music, the crowd interaction— it’s an escape from the day to day grind,” Dobbins said. “You come here and you feel like you’ve left the planet. It’s great.”

The show ended with an extensive upbeat piece, where the three players entered the crowd and played throughout the entire theater as audience members screamed, high-fived and took pictures of them.

“The way they interacted with the audience—awesome,” Irene Papageorge said. “It was a super-concert.”

After the show, the saxophonists left the stage to sign autographs and take pictures in the lobby where the line reached down the hall of the building. Southern promoted the show beforehand saying it was “sure to get you groovin’ in your seat,” which audience members lived up to.

“You can’t even say one thing over another was better or worse. The whole show was fantastic,” Dobbins said. “If the tickets were $85, I’d pay it.”

Photo Credit: Izzy Manzo


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