NYJO2 @ The Manor – 20th June 2010

NYJO2 @ The Manor – 20th June 2010The Band: Paul Eshelby (right) and Mark Horton* directing David Drake (keyboard); Charlie Haynes (bass); Max Mills/Mark Hale/PeterHitchens (drums); Matt Allen (guitar); Ashley Hunt, Georgia Hill, James Copas, Tom Gardner, David Hepworth, Sam Dysch, Luke Hather, Alex Dodds (trumpets); Charlie Osborne, Nick Sutton, Mark Horton (trombones); saxophones: Bennett Soundy, Vittorio Mura, Matthew Higham, Nick Baya (tenors), Jess Bullen, George Winstone, Sarah Allport, Tim Muggeridge (altos).

The Music: Caravan (Juan Tizol) : It Don’t Mean A Thing… (Duke Ellington) : You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To (Cole Porter) : [Small Group: Four# (Miles Davis) : Bernie’s Tune# (Bernie Miller/Gerry Mulligan) : Girl From Ipanema^ (Antonio Carlos Jobim)] : St Thomas* (Sonny Rollins) : Night Train*(Jimmy Forrest, arr. Gordon Goodwin) : On Green Dolphin Street (Bronislau Kaper) : New York State Of Mind* (Billy Joel) : Boplicity (Miles Davis) : MacArthur Park (Jimmy Webb, arr. Adrian Drover/Maynard Ferguson) : Moten Swing (Bennie Moten) : Manteca* (Dizzy Gillespie) : Four (Miles Davis) : Have You Seen Them Cakes? (Josh Daniels) : Blue Rondo A La Turk (Dave Brubeck). [Numbers marked; * were conducted by Mark Horton; # were played by the Ashley Hunt Trio; ^ were played by the Tom Gardner Sextet]

The Gig: This Father’s Day session was originally scheduled as a NYJO concert, but an invitation for the main band to play a major festival gig in London gave the NYJO2 youngsters a chance to strut their stuff at The Manor instead.

The day before this concert some of the band had been privileged to attend a jazz workshop at The Barbican by Winton Marsalis’s Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra although, according to Paul Eshelby, all that they learnt was to tap their heels (rather than toes) to feel the ‘groove’ and, when soloing, to ‘play to the stars’!

The fortuitous by-product of attending the workshop was that the band had at least three numbers (the ones played at The Barbican) to start the concert with – the man entrusted with bringing their main music along (one M**k H****n) had apparently overslept…

Thus it was that the gratifyingly large crowd that had gathered at The Manor, many of whom were seeing NYJO2 for the first time, were treated to an initial selection of Ellington arrangements – Caravan, It Don’t Mean A Thing… and You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To – which set the mood nicely…

In the continuing absence of music for the full band, trumpeters Ashley Hunt and Tom Gardner, with their respective small groups, stepped up to weave some magic with Miles Davis’ Four, Gerry Mulligan’s Bernie’s Tune and Jobim’s slinky Girl From Ipanema – delightful!

NYJO2 @ The Manor – 20th June 2010Then Mark Horton (left) arrived and was immediately put in charge of conducting the band through a range of numbers as different as Sonny Rollins’ St Thomas, Jimmy Forrest’s classic Night Train, Billy Joel’s evocative New York State Of Mind and Miles Davis’ Boplicity – a quite eclectic mix, which the band negotiated superbly.

In amongst that lot Paul led the band through a couple of takes of On Green Dolphin Street, a trumpet feature for Tom (whose Dad Simon was in the audience) in which he was encouraged to remember to ‘play to the stars’!

The second set contained another interesting and varied selection of numbers, from Maynard Ferguson’s version of Jimmy Webb’s iconic MacArthur Park, Bennie Moten’s signature piece Moten Swing, Dizzy Gillespie’s renowned Manteca, a full big band arrangement of Miles Davis’ Four, a number from the NYJO back-catalogue by alumnus Josh Daniels, Have You Seen Them Cakes? and Blue Ronda A La Turk by Dave Brubeck – not a normal composer choice for bands at The Manor, but an indication that this band are not afraid to tackle anything, no matter how difficult.

All told, this was a lovely concert: the band acquitted itself with real distinction and the surprisingly original music programme was enjoyed enormously by a sizeable and appreciative audience – nice one, NYJO2!

Review: Steve Harris/Ian Fielding : Photos: Alan Tagg