NYJO @ The Manor – 16th January 2011

NYJO @ The Manor – 16th January 2011In The Band: Bill Ashton directing Chris Eldred (piano): Sandy Sucholdolski (bass guitar); Rob Luft (guitar); Scott Chapman/Olly Sarkher (drums); Chris Valentine/Olly Sarkher (percussion); Mark Perry, Reuben Fowler, Louis Dowdeswell, Tommy Walsh, Rob Greenwood, Laura Jurd (trumpets); Pete Whitehouse, Ross Anderson, Alex Paxton (left), Dave Wheldon/Chris Valentine (tenor trombones), Barry Clements (bass trombone); Annette Cox (French horn); saxophones: Johnny Griffith & Lucas Dodd (altos), Nadim Teimoori & Tom Stone (tenors), Ben Mallinder (baritone); Elle Marr (flute). Kwabena Adjepong and Emma Smith (above left) were the vocalists.

Set 1: Don’t Mention The Blues (Mark Nightingale) [feature for Alex; soli: sax section] : It Ain’t Necessarily So (George Gershwin, arr. Callum Au) [intro: Chris in ‘Hammond’ mode; solos: Laura, Lucas, Scott] : The Green Witch (Evan Jolly) [feature for Reuben (flgl)] : I Wish You Love (v) (Charles Trenet, arr. Callum Au) [Kwabena (voc); solo: Tom] : No Moon At All (v) (David A Mann/Redd Evans, arr. Dave Foster) [intro: Sandy; Kwabena & Emma (vocs) with accompaniment by Chris, then Mark; solos: Tom, Chris (coda)] : My Romance (v) (Richard Rogers/Lorenz Hart, arr. Callum Au) [intro: Chris; Emma (voc) with Rob Luft; solo: Laura] : Caravan (Juan Tizol, arr. Callum Au) [intro: Scott; solos Lucas, Scott]

Set 2: Mo’ Mumbles (v?) (Callum Au) [feature for Tommy (scat voc/tpt); solo: Alex] : Back To Basie (Steve Parry) [intro: Chris; solo: Mark] : Indiana (James Hanley, arr. Sir John Dankworth) [solo: Johnny] : Summer Sundays (v) (Steve Gray/ Christine Denmead, arr. Tommy Laurence) [Emma (voc) duet with Rob Luft] : A Step Too Far (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Callum Au) [Emma (voc); solo: Johnny] : Hot And Sweaty (Martin Williams) [intro: Barry; soli: sax section; solos: Lucas, Nadim, Johnny, Tom, Barry] : Roxy Beaujolais (Mark Nightingale) [intro: Chris; solos: Tom, Laura (flgl)] : Too Close For Comfort (v) (Jerrold L Bock/Lawrence Holofcener/George Weiss, arr. Tommy Laurence) [Kwabena (voc); solo: Tom] : We’ll Be Together Again (v) (Frankie Laine/Carl Fischer, arr. Nelson Riddle) [Kwabena (voc); solos: Elle (alto fl), Tommy (muted), Lucas (coda)] : How About You? (v) (Burton Lane/Ralph Freed) [Kwabena & Emma (vocs); no solos]

The Gig: Fresh from a successful residency at Ronnie Scott’s, NYJO attracted a goodly crowd to The Manor for its first session of 2011 – Annette Cox, Elle Marr and Olly Sarkher marking their debuts here. With an over-supply of talent in the trumpet and trombone sections, Chris Valentine shared the percussion chair during set 1 with Olly (the latter on drums for the first number) before depping for Dave Wheldon during set 2.

This session contained rather more ‘standards’ than normal, in preparation for an upcoming concert in Tunbridge Wells – NYJO Plays The Great American Songbook – which would seem to be a showcase for many of Callum Au’s charts. Kwabena and Emma, perhaps two of the  ‘jazziest’  singers to have come up  through  NYJO in recent years, handled their individual songs with aplomb. We’ll Be Together Again and Summer Sundays were the standouts, as were the two duets, especially No Moon At All, which, with Sandy’s bass intro and Rob Luft’s guitar under the vocals, was magic!

Alex Paxton impressed with some adept playing on his feature Don’t Mention The Blues; with eyes closed, Steve Parry’s Lil’ Darlin’ clone Back To Basie was by the Count’s band; Caravan and Indiana, both taken at a fast clip, gave Lucas and Johnny opportunities to demonstrate their be-bop chops and Laura’s flugel solo on Mark Nightingale’s 3/4 Roxy Beaujolais was just superb.

Review: Steve Harris/Ian Fielding : Photo: Bill Ashton