As NYJO showcases new directions in musical repertoire this year, Mark Armstrong (pictured) directed the first set performances of new work at Ronnie Scott’s to a full house for the last two nights and is set to raise the roof again this evening.
Yesterday’s performance saw the second night of NYJO’s residency where the first set, entitled ‘5445’ both surprised and roused the audience (so called because 5445 includes new works from 5 high profile UK Jazz musicians commissioned for NYJO’s 45th Anniversary funded in association with the PRS for Music Foundation). With compositions by Julian Arguelles, Tim Garland, Mike Gibbs, Nikki Iles and Jason Yarde the music was a heady mix of jazz references which the band played with intensity. As if the external contributions of new work weren’t enough food for thought, Mark and the band impressed the Ronnie’s listeners further by devoting the second set to Mark’s self-penned Solstice Suite, a suite that captures the sun and chill of the seasons, with vocalese and the poetry of John Donne eloquently performed by Emma Smith (pictured).
Bill Ashton, OBE led the band with a selection of swingin’ NYJO classics and new arrangements by NYJO players for Monday night’s second set and there will be more of the same big band sound for the final evening’s second half.
With Jim Mullen’s Organ trio playing as support as well as NYJO and it’s extensive repertoire, it is no wonder that all three nights are sold out.