NYJO @ The Manor – 20th March 2011

In The Band: Bill Ashton directing Chris Eldred (piano): Grant Russell (bass); Rob Luft (guitar); Scott Chapman (drums); Simon Whittaker (percussion); Rueben Fowler, Nick Mead, Tommy Walsh, Rob Greenwood, Laura Jurd (trumpets); Barry Clements (bass trombone), Ross Anderson, Callum Au, Mat Walton, Alex Paxton (tenor trombones); saxophones: Simon Marsh & Lucas Dodd (altos), Sam Rapley & Tom Stone (tenors), Ruaridh Pattison (baritone); Charlotte Beattie (flute). Neomi Nutti, Layla Lei and Tommy Walsh were the vocalists.

Set 1: Fleet (Mark Nightingale) [solos: Laura, Simon Marsh, Scott] : Rosie A (Anthony Adams) [feature for Rob Luft] : Limehouse Blues (Philip Brayham, arr. Colin Skinner) [solo: Callum] : You’d Think I’d Learn (v) (Christine Denmead/Bill Ashton, arr. Josh Daniels) [intro: Lucas with Noemi (voc); solo: Lucas] : My Funny Valentine (v) (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart, arr. Mark Nightingale) [intro: Rob Luft; Noemi (voc); solo: Rob Luft] : La Muchacha Do Colombia (Martin Williams) [intro: Barry; solos: Tom, Alex, Reuben (flgl), Scott & Simon Whittaker duel] : As Close As You Are (Tubby Hayes) [solos: Sam, Simon Whittaker (vibes), Grant] : No Moon At All (v) (David A Mann/Redd Evans, arr. Dave Foster) [intro: Grant; Layla (voc) with accompaniment by Rob Luft; solo: Sam] : Thought I’d Ask (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Bob Dowell) [intro: Chris & Layla (voc) over trombones, then Layla (voc) with Tom; solo: Rob Luft]

Set 2: Lisson Groove (Evan Jolly) [soli: trombone section; solo: Callum; drum interjections: Scott] : Try A Little Tenderness (v) (James Campbell/Reg Connelly/ Harold M Woods, arr. Tom Stone) [Tommy (voc); no solos] : One For Oscar (Andy Vinter) [feature for Chris] : Roxy Beaujolais (Mark Nightingale) [intro: Chris; solos: Tom, Laura (flgl)] : Nice Work If You Can Get It (v) (George & Ira Gershwin, arr. Callum Au) [intro: Chris with Neomi (colla voce) then Grant with Neomi (voc); solo: Reuben; Neomi (scat voc) with Rob Luft] : Getting Used To You (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Evan Jolly) [intro: Neomi (voc) with Rob Luft; solos: Rob Luft, Simon Marsh] : Bustance (Callum Au) [feature for Barry; solis: sax section, trombone section; solo: Chris] : Swinging Gates (Evan Jolly) [intro: Chris; solos: Tom, Reuben, sax section] : Keep It Simple (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Steve Perry) [Layla (voc) soli: sax section; solo: Laura]

The Gig: A select audience assembled at The Manor to enjoy another super NYJO session, the band sounding ‘very together’ for this afternoon’s concert. The programme included an initial selection of numbers that are being considered for a projected series of future concerts featuring the Great British Songbook, of which we will doubtless be hearing more in due course…

Making their Manor debuts for ‘the first team’ were Simon Whittaker, Sam and Ruaridh, whilst Neomi and Layla were making welcome returns to the vocal chair after a period of absence. Both Simon W (on vibes) and Sam had an early opportunity to demonstrate their soloing prowess on Tubby Hayes’s wonderful chart – originally written for the legendary Centre 42 Big Band – As Close As You Are, with Grant also contributing a lovely bass solo to this laid-back swinger.

NYJO @ The Manor – 20th March 2011Other highlights of the concert were: Laura’s classy trumpet and flugel contributions to Fleet and Roxy Beaujolais, the latter also featuring some of Tom’s delightful tenor playing; Rob Luft’s beautiful guitar work on Rosie A, his feature showcase; Tommy (left) demonstrating, for the second week in succession here, his evocative Chet Baker-esque vocal style whilst premièring Tom’s lovely arrangement of Try A Little Tenderness; and Barry Clements’ feature on a Callum original – Bustance – which also contained some tricky soli passages expertly negotiated by both the sax and trombone sections. And it was also good to see Chris back at the keyboard again, giving Andy Vinter’s tribute to Mr Peterson a proper play…

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