NYJO @ The Manor – 27th December 2010

NYJO @ The Manor – 27th December 2010The Band: Bill Ashton directing Chris Eldred (piano); Conor Chaplin (bass guitar); Rob Luft (guitar); Scott Chapman (drums); Dave Elliott (percussion); Mark Perry, Louis Dowdeswell, Tommy Walsh, Rob Greenwood, Laura Jurd (trumpets); Ross Anderson (bass trombone), Maggie Dowdeswell, Peter Whitehouse, Chris Valentine, Alex Paxton (tenor trombones); Anna Drysdale (French horn); saxes: Lucas Dodd & Simon Marsh (altos), Michael Lack & Mike Wilkins (tenors), Ben Mallinder (baritone); Jenna Smart (flute). Kwabena Adjepong & Jessica Dowdeswell (right) were the vocalists.

The Music: Tangerine (Victor Schertzinger/Johnny Mercer, arr. Steve Titchener) : Bess, You Is My Woman Now (George Gershwin, arr. Dave Lindup) : La Muchacha Do Colombia (Martin Williams) : Getting Used To You (JD v) (Bill Ashton arr. Evan Jolly) : I Wasn’t Looking For Love (JD/KA v) (Christine Denmead/Bill Ashton, arr. John Clarke) : A Nightingale Swang… (Eric Maschwitz/Manning Sherwin, arr. Mark Armstrong) : Rockin’ Chair (KA v) (Hoagy Carmichael, arr. Evan Jolly) : Paris Is For Lovers (KA v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Evan Jolly) : Walk The Talk (Callum Au) : Mo’ Mumbles (TW v?) (Callum Au) : Putney Vale (Tom Stone, arr. Callum Au) : It’s So Easy (KA v) (Mike Sammes/Bill Owen, arr. Alan Hare) : Barker Is Willing (Callum Au) : Looking Back (JD v) (Christine Denmead/Derek Goome, arr. Mark Nightingale) : A Step Too Far (JD v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Callum Au) : Winter Wonderland (JD/KA v) (Felix Bernard/Richard B Smith)

The Gig: Our final concert of 2010 was NYJO’s traditional Feast of St John session which, despite the freezing weather, banished any post-Christmas torpor by providing some proper preparation for the band’s regular New Year appearance at Ronnie Scott’s.

Although not scheduled to sing at Ronnie’s Jessica Dowdeswell occupied the female vocal chair and, with her three featured songs, demonstrated just what an improved singer she has become. Kwabena Adjepong now exudes real confidence and a impressive stage presence and, in addition to his three feature songs, also joined Jessica for a couple of duets. And Tommy Walsh had his own trumpet and scat vocal feature on Callum Au’s Mo’ Mumbles, in a nod to the late, great Clark Terry.

Other players that impressed during the concert were: Laura Jurd, who created some striking solos on Tangerine, La Muchacha… and particularly Rockin’Chair; baritone player Ben Mallinder, whose feature on Gershwin’s sonorous Bess You Is My Woman Now was a controlled tour de force; Alex Paxton, who, on Walk The Talk, ably demonstrated his pixie and plunger prowess; Michael Lack, the third tenor player in as many gigs here to venture an interpretation of Tom Stone’s lovely ballad Putney Vale and Simon Marsh, who conjured up a couple of cracking solos whilst accompanying Jessica on Getting Used to You and A Step Too Far.                

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