In The Band: Bill Ashton directing David Drake (piano, left): Grant Russell (bass); Rob Luft (guitar); Scott Chapman (drums); Max Mills (percussion); Brindley Heywood-Snell, Ashley Hunt, Toby Street, Adam Chatterton, Tom Dennis (trumpets); Daniel Higham, Josh Tagg, Chris Valentine, Pete Whitehouse, Charlie Osborne (tenor trombones) Callum Au (bass trombone); Anna Drysdale (French horn); saxophones: Phil Meadows & Mike Underwood (tenors), Ian Bufton & Jim Gold (altos), Charlotte Beattie (baritone); Helen Wilson (flute). Jessica Dowdeswell was the vocalist.
Set 1: Tangerine (Victor Schertzinger/Johnny Mercer, arr. Steve Titchener) [intro: Scott; solos: Tom, Ian; coda: Scott] : Rosie A (Anthony Adams) [feature for Rob] : Bustance (Callum Au) [solo: Callum; soli: sax section; coda: Scott] : I Remember The X-Men (Gareth Lockrane) [feature for Helen; intro: David; solo: Mike; coda: Scott] : That Old Black Magic (v) (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer, arr. Billy May) [Jessica (voc); solo: Phil] : Getting Used To You (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Evan Jolly) [intro: Jessica (voc) with Rob (a capella); solos: Rob, Jim] : Honeysuckle Dave (Fats Waller, arr. Mark Armstrong) [feature for David; solo: Scott] : Londonderry Air (Trad, arr. Dick Walter) [solo: Pete; soli: sax section].
Set 2: U-Turn (Steve Titchener) [intro: David; solos: Phil, Adam] : Almost There (Anthony Adams) [feature for Rob] : La Muchacha Do Colombia (Martin Williams) [intro: Callum; solos: Mike, Chris, Tom; coda: Scott + Max duel] : It Ain’t Necessarily So (George Gershwin, arr. Callum Au) [intro: David (organ mode); solos: Adam, Jim, Scott] : A Way With Words (v) (Bill Ashton/Steve Gray, arr. Evan Jolly) [intro: Tom (flgl); Jessica (voc); solo: Tom (flgl)] : Summer Sundays (v) (Bill Ashton/Christine Denmead/Steve Gray, arr. Tommy Laurence) [intro: Jessica (voc) with Rob (a capella); solo: Rob] : Moten Swing (Bennie Moten, arr. Colin Skinner) [intro/theme: Callum/ Charlotte/Helen (trio); solos: Jim, Callum; soli: sax section; coda: Callum/Phil/Helen (trio)] : Back Home Again In Indiana (James Hanley, arr. Sir John Dankworth) [feature for Jim].
Jottings: NYJO’s first appearance at The Manor this year revealed some significant changes in line-up from the band’s post-Christmas session here – including an almost totally new trumpet section and a couple of tenor players and trombonists (including 10-year old Daniel) making their Manor debuts. Needless to say, as if to bear out Jean-Baptiste Karr’s old adage ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’, the quality of the musicianship was as high as ever…
The concert featured a satisfying mix of standards, pieces penned and/or arranged by band alumni, charts by the prolific Callum (today on relatively recently-learned bass trombone) and a quartet of vocals – the latter allowing Jessica amply to demonstrate her increasing mastery of the acquired art of big band singing.
Standout performance of the session was Rob’s, not only for his playing on both his features – Rosie A and Almost There – but also for his sympathetic accompaniment to Jessica’s a capella verses on Getting Used… and Summer Sundays.
Other highlights included: Jim’s (left) adroit alto additions to Getting Used…, It Ain’t… and Moten Swing, plus his assured control on the up-tempo Set 2 closer from 1917, Back Home Again…; Tom’s trumpet contributions to Tangerine and La Muchacha…, plus his lovely flugel introduction and solo on A Way With Words; Helen’s fabulous flute on her feature, Gareth Lockrane’s rarely-heard I Remember… and her trio work on Moten Swing; and David’s finger-busting feature on Fats Waller’s Honeysuckle…
Review: Steve Harris/Ian Fielding : Photos: Bill Ashton