NYJO @ The Manor – 18th March 2012

NYJO @ The Manor – 18th March 2012In 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.

NYJO @ The Manor – 18th March 2012Standout 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