Monday, April 24, 2017

NYJO 50 years 1965 -1975(ish)

September 24, 2015 by  

The First rehearsal of what was to become NYJO took place on October 10th 1965 at the Marquee Club Wardour Street in Soho London.

Bill Ashton, then a French supply teacher had been sent to a school in North London. Bill’s interest in jazz, saxophone and bigbands had led him to start the Oxford Union Big Band during his time there. So it was with some surprise that in this otherwise unremarkable North London School, he came across Frank Ricotti, already demonstrating musical skills on saxophone, clarinet and percussion way beyond his years. Not only that Frank wasn’t the only one. So it seemed that if such talents were to be found in one school, perhaps throughout London there could be found enough players to form a full bigband.

Well that was the idea so The London Schools Jazz Orchestra was formed.

Click on any picture to enlarge (all the sleeve notes are readable) Click the red links for the videos

The London Schools Jazz Orchestra circa 1965

This screenshot from the band’s legendary first broadcast on BBC2 (then itself brand new) Late Night Line Up circa 1965 is the only surviving image of the LSJO.

Graham Collier directs the band. Front row, left to right; Bob Sydor, Stan Sulzmann, Tony Rowlands. Middle row trombones, not known

Back row, trumpets, not known except second from right Fred Hill (possibly).

If you can identify any of the unamed players, please let us know.

The name was soon changed to the London YOUTH Jazz Orchestra as the ages of players wanting to join started to go beyond school age.

Gathered around the piano, left to right;

Stephen Pheasant, Albert Van de Veld and Dave Gelly consider Bill’s thoughts on conducting. Who is the young alto player far right here and on the other photo, and who is peering over Bill’s shoulder? And who’s that at the back? Bob Sydor thinks its him.

These two photos kindly supplied by Les Cirkel.

Les on Drums inscribed NYJO   5/1966 Marquee London and general shot of rehearsal

The London Youth Jazz Orchestra!

In performance! (check the sign)

Back row; Sam Fendrich-Bass Stephen Saunders- Tuba, Ken Fray Edward Reay-Smith and Godfrey Wigett

Trumpet hidden unknown, Dave Rose-Trumpet.

Middle row, trombones unknown

Front, Mike Townend-flute, Steve Pheasant, alto, Andy Mackintosh-alto, Tony Rowland-alto, Albert Van der Veld-tenor, Bob Sydor-tenor, Mike Page-baritone.

And again somewhere else!

The shades seemed to have swapped around in the saxes, Steve Saunders has put his Tuba on the chair and is playing trombone. Some of the brass players are a bit clearer, please let us know names.

The sign proudly bearing the orchestra’s name is there again. Remember it.

Steve Saunders did as you’ll see.

Because in 1967 LYJO went to France and then in 1968 to Bulgaria.

Amazingly this was all filmed by trumpeter David Rose.

Captured on silent 8mm movie film these trips show some of the earliest members of the orchestra.

Sadly no sound in those days, and mostly of the band doing other things (Dave couldn’t play and film).

The soundtrack is a selection from the first LP recorded by NYJO in 1970.

These 8mm reels kindly donated by David Rose


LYJO in France

LYJO in Bulgaria

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In 1970 LYJO was invited to the COI, Central Office of Information, Film studios near South Kensington London.

The recordings were for overseas Commonwealth distribution and made into 2 clips.

Among the bandmembers are; Dick Pearce, Alan Leggat, Keith Maynard, Colin Bastin,-tpts, John Elliott-tuba, Dick Walter, Ted Rockley- alto, Ron Shillingford-tenor, Paul Nieman- tbn Paul Westwood- bass, Jean Alain-Rouseau-piano, Heather Brundish, Anna Zee-flutes, .

LYJO COI 1970 Clip 1

LYJO COI 1970 Clip 2

NYJO at the COI TV studios

The following year LYJO was at the ILEA, Inner London Education
Authority TV studios for more recording.
Domestic video recording was still some years away so these clips
are extremely rare.

LYJO at ILEA TV (courtesy Brian Ling)

LYJO at the ILEA 1971

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The Cockpit years (first time round)

The Marquee Club Sunday afternoon rehearsal sessions came to an end and rehearsals decamped to The Metro Club in Westbourne Grove. This ended abruptly after only a few weeks when it burnt down. However this meant that The Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, itself newly built in 1970 became the rehearsal venue for LYJO.
Later in 1971 LYJO becomes NYJO proudly emblazoned on its new wooden stands.
When LWT decided to do a Music in the Round series of programmes, the Cockpit was ideal and NYJO an obvious choice for a programme.
This video kindly provided from the ITV archives is remarkable. It’s an early example of colour TV (ITV had only started regular colour output in 1969) and looks brilliant. It’s the earliest images of NYJO in sound and colour.

Humphrey Burton is the affable unflappable, genial host and John Dankworth is on hand too.

NYJO Music in the Round 1971

And to confirm the orchestra’s new name the Opening number is Eddie Harvey’s NYJO!

NYJO first LP on Philips. It was a chance to get many of the players that had been in NYJO so far back together and with a truly eclectic range of original charts, from a variety of writers.

Check the personnel and the writers!

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The next great episode was another tour abroad. This time to Poland and East Germany in 1972.

Mercifully no film or photographs have surfaced of that eventful tour (unless you know different) but shortly after saying goodbye to the Brandenburg Gate NYJO were back in the studio recording for Charisma the second LP.

This LP was at one time to be called ‘Gatecrasher’ after one of the tracks and was going to look a bit like this.

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But they saw sense and released it with the more imaginative name of NYJO

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.Gatecrasher was released as a single.

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Just 3 years later The National Youth Jazz Orchestra is
capable of hosting its own National TV show on BBC2 in this example of BBC 2 ‘In Concert

NYJO 1974 In Concert.

This performance includes a vocal by a young man from the trombone section. Is this the first time Lance Ellington sings on BBC TV?

Did you recognise him?

In 1976 NYJO were with Humphrey Burton again, this time on BBC 2’s  Arts programme Omnibus.

NYJO on BBC ‘Omnibus’1976

Introduced by Humphrey Burton


As Humphrey mentioned in his introduction NYJO were about to tour again.

In 1976 the US Bicentennial Year NYJO went to Reno Nevada USA.

This Home movie was
shot by Guy Barker’s father in the UK and his uncle in the US.
Originally shot on silent 8mm film, this VHS transfer is somewhat
primitive yet still fascinating. The music is from the NYJO LP Return Trip.

(if anyone knows the whereabouts of the original 8mm please get in touch)

NYJO in Reno 1976

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NYJO 1976 at LWT.

NYJO recorded a programme for LWT, London Weekend Television in 1976 at their South Bank Studios.
These 2 videos are the raw material, so they’re not fully edited for transmission but a record of the recording session itself.
This concludes with a remarkable duet from Phil Todd and Chris Hunter.

NYJO 1976 at LWT 1

NYJO 1976 at LWT 2

These formed the basis for the 4th LP Eleven Plus Live at LWT on RCA. (Which is why this first ‘decade’ is 11 years, spookily predicted by the track on the first LP ‘Eleven Years After’!

This publicity shot of the band with Carol Kenyon circa 1976

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And another almost the same, but the stands first seen in the Music in the Round clip but with the ‘bottle’ style letters have been updated again!

NYJO Twickenham Tech 1971 NYJO Twickenham Tech 1971 Back row, Colin Bastin, Clive Baker, David Rose, Ian Pitch. Middle row, Horn, unknown, Trombone, unknown, Mike Reynolds, unknown, Chris Irelan-Bunting (standing),Front row, Anna Zee, Michael White, Chris Biscoe, Ted Rockley, Pete Hadden, Brian Ling, Bill Ashton, Paul Westwood, John Maskell

Pete Hadden and Brian Ling ILEA TV recording 1971 (courtesy Brian Ling)

ILEA TV recording Ted Rockley, Michael White, Brian Ling (courtesy Brian Ling)

Cockpit 1971

Cockpit 1971

Cockpit Music in the Round for LWT

Stan Willis during a rehearsal break, Cockpit 1971

Michael White (Michael would go on to run the Ealing music shop)

Paul Nieman (foreground) Heather Brundish, Anna Zee -flutes

Heather Brundish

Heather Brundish

Noel Fraser

Chris Biscoe, Ted Rockley

Anna Zee points out something important to Chris Biscoe

Ted Rockley, Phil Todd

Paul Nieman, Noel Fraser

Maynard Ferguson NYJO Summer School 1970

This photo taken at The Cockpit was going to be used on the 2nd LP.                                  Back row l-r Pete Saberton, Dick Pearce, Paul Reynolds, Nigel Munisamy, John Elliott, Dave Read, Ted Rockley, Dave Channing, Chris Biscoe.         Middle row, George Nicklin, Dave Lord, Larry Tyrie, Martin Bunce, Melanie Rowland, Sue Wooley, Martyn David, Cliff Prior, Mike Read.  Front row, Mick Cousins, Chris Reid, Mike Harding, Bill Ashton, John Maskell, Paul Hart.
Clive Baker and Martin Bunce

Nigel Munisamy in typical pose

Ken Price, unknown, Paul Nieman

Chris Biscoe, Ted Rockley, Phil Todd

Who is this?

Clive Baker-tpt solos over the sax section

A visit to the Cockpit in 1971 by a photographer resulted in him leaving some contact prints for the band to take. The enlargements above are from these sheet, not the negatives!

These sheets were found years later by Ted Rockley, if anyone has others, let us know.

This potted history is a little simplified, the 1967 date marks the change to the London Youth Jazz Orchestra

NYJO in Concert Harrow School 1971

1971 NYJO Play Harrow School.

This was a significant concert, it marked the beginning of NYJO being run by Bill Ashton as a full time job.

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We will continue through 1976 Bicentennial Year and into the 1980s in the next section, coming soon.

If you can put names to anyone not so far identified, or have corrections to offer, or have any material you’d like to share and contribute to the archive please get in touch.

There’s lots more to come so keep checking  back.

Comments

7 Responses to “NYJO 50 years 1965 -1975(ish)”
  1. DICK PEARCE says:

    Dear NYJO people,

    This is my 2nd attempt at sending a message regarding the 50th anniversary of NYJO. I hope this one goes ok. (the first one was much more coherant}.

    It is with a feeling of extreme ‘pissed off-ness’ that I am unable to attend the 50th anniversay celebration of NYJO at the 100 club.

    I am writing this in the dark on a balcony in Croatia. So I apologise for any inaccuracies.

    If it were not for Bill and his NYJO I probably wouldn’t be sitting on this Croation balcony in 2015.

    Until joining the LYJO, as it was back then in 1966, my only playing experience was with the local Ewell village brass band.

    Through Bill my musicianship developed into being a member of the Ronnie Scott Quintet from 1980 – 1994, travelling the world and furthering my musical education.

    I have gone into great detail about these years in my autobiography ‘Dizzy Gillespie Was At My Wedding’ (I may as well give it a plug!),published by Bill Scott and Iain Hannah, available for the mere sum of 10 quids, from all good book shops, or from my website http://www.dickpearce.co.uk .

    I just want to say a very big THANKYOU to Bill, for giving my life the direction it needed, thanks Bill.

    Have a good night, you deserve it.

    All the best,
    Dick.

  2. Vince Neale says:

    I went to the original audition (and still have the invite) and was selected as one of two drummers (along with Les Cirkel) in the original LSJO, LYJO and the only drummer on NYJO’s tour to Narbonne. I have the BBC 2 audio recording of Night in Tunisia (with a nice vibes solo by Frank Ricotti) and Yesterdays featuring Les. I was also on an BBC ‘In Town Tonight’ interview with Bill after we returned from France. I have photos from the Marquee concerts, Marquee flyers featuring the band and other memorabilia. I am the drummer in the Narbonne concert photo next to Mike Townsend. I have a number of recordings of the early band and other photos of the band at the Marquee with Frank and Stan Sultzman if anybody is interested. It was a great period for me musically and I thank Bill for persevering against what must have seemed overwhelming odds at most times. I hope to hear from you. Vince

  3. Vince Neale says:

    Reading through the other memorabilia it seems my memory was off as the band went to Narbonne as LYJO and yet I am sure I have memorabilia with NYJO on it predating the 1971 era.
    I omitted that I have an audio recording of the BBC interview on ‘In Town Tonight’ .
    BTW I agree that Bob Sydor is behind Bill’s head. I remember the thrill of actually being in the Marquee Club even though it was on Sunday afternoons and also of watching the New Jazz Orchestra with Jon Hiseman on drums who was very helpful to me. One memory is of Bill calling Apple Honey early on in the band’s life at the 60s temp and we lasted about 8 bars and then fell apart. We also did L’il Darlin’ at the other end of the tempo scale with wobbly results. Other charts I remember were Harry South’s North of the Soho Border, Big P, Cherry Point, Uptown Walk, Lament for the Light, After Supper, I Remember Clifford, Blues March. The original rhythm section was Les or I with Julian piano, Sam Fendritch bass. Chris Lawrence followed Sam on bass. Ken Gray was one of the trombonists who went to France. BTW Thanks for posting the movie of the France tour which I had forgotten about. Nice surprise. I also have photos of the band on the tarmac at Southend!

  4. les cirkel says:

    Hi LES CIRKEL here, thanks to Vince Neale for the name check as me being there at the first auditions! Vince I’d love to meet up with you for a chat and probably far too much reminisce. The last we spoke was me suggesting that you tried to get on the boats for some cruise work and I think you ended up doing some US cruises? That was a few decades back!
    Please do get in touch & if I’m allowed o include a phone number it’s 01707 328 770
    Kind regards Les

  5. Paul Nieman says:

    I’m usually slow off the mark and this time I’m hmmm about 50 years behind but I do appreciate (even more than ever) the fun and the training I received through Bill Ashton and the London Youth Jazz Orchestra as it was at first. When I first joined I sat on the end of the line of trombones and was tolerated as I managed to hit one in three notes accurately and gradually my reading improved in a very happy, noisy, constructive, fun atmosphere. Many many thanks. Paul

  6. David Rose says:

    Like Dick Pearce, I was “somewhat disappointed” at being unable to make the 50th Bash. It was due to teeth breaking trying to catch up a bit on my blowing for the event. A tall order considering I hadn’t played the trumpet for 42 years. What does it take to tell you you’re not eighteen years old any more … I even bought an Olds Mendez and was miffed it didn’t play itself to altissimo C like the first one I blew back in late 1968. By the way, Dick, you’re playing is great! In my few guest appearances after departing NYJO in 1968 I remember you as the very shy young guy with promise!

    Anyway, through these pages and correspondence with Ted Rockley and others at NYJO, I’ve made contact with some old mates and early stalwarts of the band. I’d be delighted to hear from anyone via david@ my website ramblingrose.eu. It has also prompted me to start writing music again and comments, even derisive if you must, are welcome! Otherwise, I’m an author and publisher in my, ha, ha, retirement.

    I seem to be a NYJO Silver Surfer (I forget the exact expression) and it’s good I’m seeing kids playing music again. Well impressed I am too with the standard of playing on the whole. I dedicated one of my books to Mike Townend a couple of years ago. When he said he bought a piccolo B flat trumpet twenty years ago as something with a bit more testosterone than his flute I said he should join me in leading the 50th Gig “Originals” from the back and we would show the youngsters how it should be done. “Be afraid, be very afraid …” or words to that effect, was his response!

    Best wishes to all oldies in retirement, nursing homes etc,

    David Rose (1965 – 1968)

  7. Grace Smith says:

    I was at trinity college of music from 1968 -1971 as a flute player and played in the college orchestra and Concert band with Anna Zee. havent heard anything from her since but just came up with her name on a google search. My daughter played keyboards with the NYJO in the Royal albert hall when she was 18. sometime around the early 9o’s i think.

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