NYJO @ The Manor – 20th February 2011

In The Band: Bill Ashton directing David Drake (piano): Grant Russell (bass); Rob Luft (guitar); Scott Chapman (drums); Olly Sarkher (percussion); Miguel Gorodi, Tom Syson, Tommy Walsh, Nick Mead, Rob Greenwood (trumpets); Ross Anderson, Mat Walton, Ralph Clarkson, Alex Paxton (tenor trombones), Barry Clements (bass trombone); Chrissie Ransom (French horn); saxophones: Simon Marsh & Lucas Dodd (altos), Mike Wilikins & Tom Stone (tenors), Alex Chadwick (baritone); Jenna Smart (flute). Billie Wackrill and Jessica Dowdeswell were the vocalists.

Set 1: U-Turn (Steve Titchener) [extended intro: Rob Luft joined by David & rhythm section; solos: Tom Stone, Rob Greenwood, sax section] : Putney Vale (Tom Stone, arr. Callum Au) [feature for Tom Stone; solo: Rob Luft] : Bustance (Callum Au) [feature for Barry; solos: Mat, Grant] : No Moon At All (v) (David A Mann/Redd Evans, arr. Dave Foster) [intro: Grant; Billie (voc) accompanied by Rob Luft; solo: Mike] : Let’s Settle Down (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Evan Jolly) [intro: Rob Luft with Billie (voc); solos: Rob Greenwood (flgl), sax section, Lucas, David] : The Singular Mr Dodd (Callum Au) [feature for Lucas] : Lullaby Of Birdland (v) (George Shearing/George Weiss, arr. Gwilym Simcock) [Jessica (voc); solo: Rob Luft] : Poor Little Rich Girl (v) (Noel Coward/Philip Brayham, arr. Bill Holman) [Jessica (voc); no solos]

Set 2: Unison In All Things (Andy Panayi) [solos: Simon & Tom Stone, then trading 4s, Scott, David, Rob Luft] : Miss Pankhurst Protests (Alan Hare) [feature for Alex Paxton] : Thought I’d Ask (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Bob Dowell) [intro: David; Jessica (voc) then with Tom Stone; solo: Rob Luft] : Much Too Much (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Chris Smith) [Jessica (voc); solo: Mat] : Kiss The Bass Goodbye (Victor Schertzinger, arr. Ken Woodman) [feature for Grant] : Mo’ Mumbles (v?) (Callum Au) [feature for Tommy (scat voc); solo: Mat, Tommy (flgl)] : My Romance (v) (Richard Rogers/Lorenz Hart, arr. Callum Au) [intro: David; Billie (voc) over Rob Luft; solo: Rob Greenwood (flgl)] : Swinging Gates (Evan Jolly) [intro: David; solos: Tom Stone, Rob Greenwood, sax section] : Moten Swing (Bennie & Ira ‘Buster’ Moten, arr. Colin Skinner) [feature for Alex Chadwick, joined for intro by Jenna (picc)]

The Gig: A bumper audience once again packed The Manor to witness NYJO, ‘fresh’ from a concert the previous night in Poole, skilfully and enthusiastically negotiate another eclectic mix of originals, written and arranged for the band by members past and present, and classic standards also mostly arranged by alumni.

Making their Manor debuts for the ‘first team’ were Chrissie, David, Grant and Alex Chadwick, the latter three getting ample solo opportunities throughout the afternoon to demonstrate their instrumental prowess. In fact, Grant will probably regret suggesting himself for a solo, as he was landed with a whole feature – Ken Woodman’s arrangement of Victor Schertzinger’s Kiss The Boys Goodbye, in which the bass carries the melody! Confirmation, if any was needed, that Bill’s wicked sense of humour remains intact!

NYJO @ The Manor – 20th February 2011Other highlights of the concert were: Lucas Dodd’s (left) eponymous feature which, for those who recognise their chord sequences, is based on Stan Getz’s Voyage; Jessica’s timely tribute to the recently-departed George Shearing, in Gwilym Simcock’s lovely Lullaby Of Birdland chart, which showcased a stunning Rob Luft guitar solo; Simon’s and Tom Stone’s dual sax workout, at the start of Set 2, on Andy Panayi’s re-arrangement of All The Things You Are; and Alex Paxton’s feature on Alan Hare’s re-imagining of Emily (which is why Miss Pankhurst Protests – her name was actually Emmeline…)

Alex Chadwick’s feature Moten Swing, which included some classy piccolo playing by Jenna, closed the session in suitably swinging style – great stuff from a great band…

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