Callum Au's Evening Standards Nonet @ The Manor – 22nd July 2012

Callum Au's Evening Standards Nonet @ The Manor – 22nd July 2012In The Band: Callum Au (trombone, left) leading Chris Eldred (piano); Ryan Trebilcock (bass); Rob Luft (guitar); Matt Skelton (drums); Henry Armburg-Jennings (trumpet); saxophones: Alex Garnett (tenor), Lucas Dodd (alto), Richard Shepherd (baritone).

Set 1: Yesterdays (Jerome Kern, arr. Rob Luft) [intro: Rob; solos: Henry, Lucas, Matt] : I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter, motif: Nelson Riddle*) [intro: Chris & Rob; solos: Alex, Henry (flgl)] : D’Lovely (Cole Porter) [intro: Matt; solos: Callum, Richard, Ryan] : Like Someone In Love (Jimmy Van Heusen, arr. Mark Nightingale) [theme: Henry; solos: Chris, Alex] : Emily (Johnny Mandel) [intro: reeds & brass a capella; solos: Lucas, Rob, Alex] : Saturday Night Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week (Jule Styne/ Sammy Khan, arr. Patrick Williams*) [no solos] : Caravan (Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol) [feature for Lucas & Matt].

Set 2: The Song Is You (Jerome Kern, arr. Allan Ganley*) [theme: Richard; solos: Richard, Rob] : The Nearness Of You (Hoagy Carmichael, arr. Michael Brecker*) [feature for Alex] : I’m Old Fashioned (Jerome Kern) [solos: Callum, Henry (flgl), Chris] : Almost Like Being In Love (Frederick Loewe, arr. Mark Nightingale) [solos: Lucas, Henry, Ryan].

The Wizard Of Oz Suite (Harold Arlen) : Somewhere Over The Rainbow [feature for Henry (flgl)] segueing into Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead [solos: Rob, Richard; coda: Chris] segueing into If I Only Had A Brain [solos: Lucas (sop), Callum, Matt] segueing into The Merry Old Land Of Oz [solos: Alex, Chris then duetting a capella].

Unless noted, all arrangements (& the big band adaptations for Nonet marked *) were by Callum Au.

Jottings: This concert celebrated the Manor debut of trombonist Callum’s new nine-piece project, featuring a star-studded line-up of top musicians playing delightful arrangements of a variety of classic standards – mainly, but not exclusively, lovingly penned (or adapted from others’ big band arrangements) by the talented Mr Au.

Highlights of the session were: the time-shifting opener, Yesterdays which, after Rob’s guitar introduction, gave Henry, Lucas and Matt a chance to introduce themselves; a great arrangement of I’ve Got You…, based on Nelson Riddle’s well-known motif used as a backdrop to Alex’s tenor and Henry’s faultless flugel; Lucas’s velvety alto playing on Emily, Caravan and Almost…; Richard’s bold baritone solos on D’Lovely and The Song…; and Alex’s beautiful interpretation of his feature, Nearness…

The afternoon concluded with four of Callum’s arrangements of Harold Arlen’s music for the Wizard Of Oz. Of note in this segue sequence were: Henry’s flugel feature, Rainbow…; Rob and Richard revelling in the Witch’s death; Lucas, Callum and Matt bemoaning their lack of grey matter; and Alex and Chris joyfully duetting off to Oz…

Review : Steve Harris/Ian Fielding