NYJO Impresses at Ronnie’s

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NYJO’s three-night residency at Ronnie Scott’s at the beginning of January was an unqualified success – the band playing to full houses each night, with the final session actually being a sell-out!

The high-profile gig generated a great deal of positive press – even prior to the event.

Ivan Hewett, writing in the Saturday Telegraph the weekend before, opined: The National Youth Jazz Orchestra isn’t as well-known as the National Youth Orchestra, but it should be. It is the seedbed for Britain’s jazz scene and over the years many composers have written pieces for its 22 talented youngsters. Go and be astonished.

Reviewing the first night of the BP sponsored residency for The Times, Clive Davis gave NYJO a 4-star rating.

He particularly praised Music Director Mark Armstrong: Armstrong deserves no end of credit for the performance itself, the musicians delivering full-blooded ensemble work that suggested that this long-running institution is in robust health… Hard swinging arrangements were dispatched with all the confidence of hardened pros.

He also commented: The dapper Bill Ashton…can be proud of his legacy.NYJO Impresses at Ronnie’s

Clive was very complimentary about the performance of individual musicians:

  • The trombonist Callum Au once again caught the eye with his exuberant soloing… (his) arrangement of September In The Rain glistened too.
  • The tenor saxophonist Tom Stone (right) was imperious throughout.
  • Kwabena Adjepong brought soulful authority to Georgia On My Mind while Emma Smith swung intensely on That Old Black Magic.
  • Rob Luft’s (below left) slashing rock guitar added a slightly more contemporary aura to Groove Rider

NYJO Impresses at Ronnie’sThe London Jazz Blog also celebrated: “…a superb night of big band jazz, proudly showcasing the individual and collective talents of a unique institution in British musical life”.

“In this 25-strong band, each and every member made a valuable contribution, but there were a few stand-out individuals who deserve a mention:NYJO Impresses at Ronnie’s

  • lead trombonist Callum Au (right), who has a bright future as a composer – possibly a film scorer if his arrangement of Something’s Coming is anything to go by
  • Lucas Dodd – a terrific solo on Caravan 
  • Nadim Teimoori – whose tenor solos rose up above the band while still responding to their every twist and turn
  • drummer Scott Chapman – playing some impossible rhythmic solos and driving the band throughout
  • the charming flute of Helen Wilson”.

A full transcript of the London Jazz Blog review can be found by going to Gig Reviews.


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