Afternoon of sax delights downstairs at the Avalon

Phillip Johnston's Saxophone Special.
Phillip Johnston's Saxophone Special.

The Afternoon Delights Concert Series will return to Avalon at Katoomba on Saturday, December 4.

Taking to the stage will be New York-born Sydney composer Phillip Johnston on soprano saxophone with his quartet Saxophone Special.

It promises to be a rare treat, celebrating a new book about New York saxophonist Steve Lacy by French publisher Lenka Lente.

"I'm so lucky, the Australian musicians I've had the pleasure to play with are among the best in the world," Johnston told Earthly Delights (89.1FM Radio Blue Mountains) host Meg Benson.

This gig will be Johnston's third with Afternoon Delights. He's previously collaborated with the likes of James Greening and Gary Daley.

"I love the friendly and intimate listening atmosphere of the Downstairs Avalon space," Johnston said. "It reminds me of a couple of neighbourhood jazz bars I used to play at in New York."

On December 4 he will be joined by Peter Farrar on alto saxophone, Tim Clarkson on tenor saxophone and James Loughnan on baritone saxophone.

In a tribute to Lacy, Johnston will present a program of saxophone quartet arrangements, including selections from the composer's 1975 LP Saxophone Special.

It will include new arrangements of Lacy's music and some of Johnston's own new music for saxophone, composed while in COVID quarantine.

Johnston has been performing Lacy's music since the late 70s. Both of his 90s Black Saint recordings contain Lacy tracks and his 2010s band with Melbourne pianist Jex Saarelaht, Tight Corners, played Monk, Lacy and Herbie Nichols.

He has continued to obsessively arrange and re-arrange Lacy's solo tune Hemline for different ensembles for the last 40 years. It will of course be played at the Avalon.

Afternoon Delights is presented by Music Hunter, Downstairs at Avalon, 18 Katoomba Street, Katoomba. It will run from 2pm to 4.30pm, with hte first set kicking off at 2.30pm.

Dine and discover vouchers will be accepted and there is a 35 seat capacity.

For bookings visit