In The Band: Bill Ashton directing Chris Eldred (piano); Joe Downard (bass/bass guitar); Rob Luft (guitar); Scott Chapman (drums); Tom Dennis, James Copus, Louis Dowdeswell, Adam Chatterton, Becky Waites (trumpets); Ryan Hume, Owen Dawson, Chris Valentine, Maddie Dowdeswell (tenor trombones), James Buckle (bass trombone); Anna Drysdale (French horn); saxophones: Riley Stone-Lonergran & Nadim Teimoori (tenors), Phil Meadows & David Healey (altos), Jess Holder (baritone); Rosie Stano (flute). Jessica Dowdeswell & Bill Ashton were the vocalists, joined by Veronica & Maddie Dowdeswell and Georgina Braggins for the finale.
Set 1: Beyond The Hatfield Tunnel (Paul Hart) [feature for Riley; solo: Rob; soli: sax section] : As Close As You Are (Tubby Hayes) [solos: Nadim, Tom, Joe] : Sea Island Samba (Andy Vinter) [theme: James C (muted) & Rosie duetting over band; solos: James C (muted), Rosie, Riley, Scott] : Honeysuckle Chris (Fats Waller, arr. Mark Armstrong) [feature for Chris E ; solo: Scott] : Times Were (v) (Christine Denmead/Bill Ashton, arr. Mark Armstrong) [Jessica (voc); solo: James C (flgl); coda: Louis] : You Were Marvellous Darling (v) (Bill Ashton, arr Tommy Laurence) [intro: Nadim; Jessica (voc); solo: Nadim, then counterpoint under vocal] : Sir Johnny Comes Swinging Home (Trad, arr. Evan Jolly) [feature for Phil; solo: Scott].
Set 2: Don’t Mention The Blues (Mark Nightingale) [feature for Chris V (left); soli: sax section] : Almost There (Anthony Adams) [feature for Rob] : La Muchacha Do Colombia (Martin Williams) [intro: James B; solos: Nadim, Owen, Tom] : Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart (v) (James F Handley/Bill Ashton, arr. Brian Pendleton) [Jessica (voc); no solos] : Wait And See (v) (Dennis Ogden/Bill Ashton, arr. Paul Higgs) [intro: Rob then duet with Jessica (voc); solo: Owen] : Paris Is For Lovers (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Evan Jolly) [intro: Chris E; Bill (voc); no solos] : Deep And Crisp And Evan (Evan Jolly) [solos: Chris V, Owen, Tom, Scott] : Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (v) (Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn, arr. Callum Au) [Jessica (voc); solo: David] : Winter Wonderland (v) (Felix Bernard/Richard G Smith, additional words by Bill Ashton) [The NYJOettes (vox); solos: Tom, James C].
Jottings: The select, but intrepid, audience that battled through the unrelenting snow to reach The Manor were rewarded by hearing NYJO in cracking form after its New Year residency at Ronnie Scott’s and a virtually sold-out concert a few days earlier in Oxford.
A number of the band – Joe, Becky, Ryan, Owen, James B, Riley, David and Jess – were making their Manor debuts, but even some of the regulars needed all their sight-reading skills as Bill called several numbers which don’t often feature in the pad.
Apart from the appropriately-themed Winter Wonderland encore, with mother and daughters Dowdeswell and Chris E’s girlfriend Georgina reviving the NYJOettes, an impromptu harmony group of yore, Jessica (right) handled the main vocal chair alone: James C contributing a fabulous flugel solo on Times Were, Nadim providing the solo and lovely counterpoint under the vocal on …Marvellous…, Rob and Owen helping out on Wait…, and David providing the alto support on another topical tune, Let It Snow!…
Other highlights included: Riley’s (left) feature, Beyond…, on which he was assisted firstly by Rob and then the sax section negotiating a ferocious soli passage; Tubby Hayes’s gently-swinging As Close…, which gave Nadim, Tom and Joe some solo exposure; Chris V’s front mic feature on Mark Nightingale’s infectious Don’t Mention…; and Rob’s oft-played, but always welcome, feature Almost There.
Elsewhere, Chris E was at his fleet-fingered best on Honeysuckle…; James C and Rosie combined sympathetically on, and contributed individually to, Sea Island…; whilst Phil was mighty on his Dankworth tribute feature, Sir Johnny…
And, in the end, just one mystery remained: where did Max’s and Scott’s usual moment of glory at the end of La Muchacha… go?
Review: Steve Harris/Ian Fielding : Photos: Chris Glass