NYJO 2 – 13th December 2009

nyjo2The Band: Paul Eshelby (right) and Mark Horton* directing a 33-strong ensemble, including soloists John Tazare/David Kaye (piano); Pete Hutchins (bass); James Pritchard (drums); Tom Gardner & Johnny Ensor (trumpets); Charlie Osborne (trombone); Don Pusey & Rees Beckles (saxophones).

The Music: Opening Time (Dick Walter) : Bruised Blues (Chris Smith) : With An Open Mind : Along Came Benny : In The Stone* : Mr Anthony’s Boogie* : Mas-que-reda* : Sesame Street* : Soul Bossa* (Quincy Jones) : The Groover (arr. Chris Smith) : Footsie : [Interval: A Night In Tunisia ; Yardbird Suite] :

Until I Met You (Corner Pocket) : Miss Fine (Oliver Nelson): Night Song (Brian Fahey) : Swinging Gates (Mark Armstrong, arr.Evan Jolly) : Daahoud# (Bud Powell) : My Funny Valentine# (Rodgers & Hart, arr. David Kaye) : Manteca (Dizzy Gillespie) : Dirty Dan (Bill Watrous) : Still Doing The Trick With The Horse, Madam? (Chris Smith).
[Numbers marked * were conducted by Mark Horton; # were played by the David Kaye Sextet]

The Gig: Our music policy at The Manor is flexible enough to allow us sometimes to feature ‘little’ big bands, but with NYJO2 we never have to compromise our true big band ideals – this band featured no fewer than thirty three players, eventually!

As is now becoming traditional, prior to this gig Paul Eshelby had expressed his concern about the readiness of the band to face a ‘live’ audience. He really shouldn’t worry – the gratifyingly large crowd that gathered at The Manor, many of whom were seeing NYJO2 for the first time, were more than impressed by the astounding musical ability, and playing enjoyment, that the band demonstrated.

nyjo2_review1And the music wasn’t the safe and predictable selection we might have expected either.
The concert started, appropriately, with Opening Time – this contains a quite difficult sax soli section, which was effortlessly negotiated by the massed ranks of reeds, whilst With An Open Mind was an extended feature for the delightful trumpet of Tom Gardner.

Mark Horton (left) conducted the band through a range of numbers as varied as Earth, Wind and Fire’s In The Stone, Ray Anthony’s eponymous Boogie, the theme from Sesame Street and Quincy Jones’ Soul Bossa – a quite eclectic mix, which the band negotiated superbly.

During the interval we were entertained by a septet comprising (from left) John Tazare, Pete Hutchins, Don Pusey, James Pritchard (hidden), Johnny Ensor, Rees Beckles and Charlie Osborne. Their choice of Night In Tunisia and Charlie Parker’s Yardbird Suite gave them a chance to demonstrate that they have no fear – it was great!


The second set contained another interesting selection of numbers, from the Basie-esque Corner Pocket (otherwise know as Until I Met You) Brian Fahey’s Night Song, which was a feature for Charlie Osborne, Mark Armstrong’s homage to band benefactor Clive Gates, arranged by Evan Jolly, some Dizzy Gillespie and even a number by trombonist Bill Watrous – not a normal choice for bands at The Manor, but an indication that this band are not afraid to tackle anything, no matter how difficult.

Part way through, the David Kaye Sextet took over to stretch out on Bud Powell’s Daahoud and render David’s lovely arrangement of My Funny Valentine.

All told, this was a lovely concert: the band acquitted itself with real distinction and the surprisingly original music programme was enjoyed enormously by a sizeable and appreciative audience – nice one, NYJO2!

Review: Steve Harris/Ian Fielding   Photos: Chris Glass