NYJO2/NYJO London @ The Manor – 2nd December 2012

NYJO2/NYJO London @ The Manor – 2nd December 2012

In NYJO2: Ian Bufton# (alto sax) directing Louis Centioni (piano): Benjamin Crane (bass); Charlie Heyward-Smith (guitar); James Dancer/Robert Williams/Josh Davis/Max Mills* (drums); Georgia Hill, Marcus Tuchel, Brindley Heyward-Smith, Alfie Smart, Tim Davies, Marco Natale-Miles, Florence Starr (trumpets); Daniel Higham, Chewepe Tsate, Robert Good, Colin Tuchel, Josh Tagg, Chris Valentine* (trombones); saxophones: Asha Parkinson, Devan Shah, Sean Payne, Dan Brown, Sam Norris (altos), Joe Reeve, Phil Meadows*, Theo Hayles, Elliott Proudham-Smith (tenors), Dan Mannion (baritone); Kezia Exley (vocals).

NYJO2/NYJO London @ The Manor – 2nd December 2012

In NYJO London: Phil Meadows# directing: Kieron Westmaas (piano); Menelik Claffey (double bass); Ben Wilson (bass guitar); Charlie Heywood-Smith (guitar), Laure Denaro/Max Mills* (percussion); Josh Davis (drums); Marco Natale-Miles, Louis Centioni (trumpets); Chris Valentine* (trombone); reeds: Asha Parkinson, Sean Payne, Jack Duffy (altos), Oscar Isaacs (clarinet).

Set 1: Don’t Mention The Blues (Mark Nightingale) [solos: Phil (tnr), Chris tmb), Charlie (gtr), Ben C (bs), James (drs)] : The Heat Is On (Sammy Nestico) [solos: Phil (tnr), Charlie (gtr),  James (drs)] : Miss Fine (Oliver Nelson) [intro: Ben C (bs); solo: Brindley (tpt)] : Footsie (Ken Woodman) [solo: Asha (alt)] : A Foggy Day…(v) (George & Ira Gershwin) [Kezia (voc); no solos] : Strasbourg St Denis (Roy Hargrove) [intro: Menelik (bs); solos: Jack (alt), Sean(alt), Louis (tpt), Asha (curly sop)] : Take The A-Train (Duke Ellington) [solos: Chris (tmb), Louis (tpt), Menelik (bs), Josh D (drs), Charlie (gtr)] : Jingle Bells (James Lord Pierpont) [feature for Joe (tnr)] : Blue Rondo A La Turk (Dave Brubeck) [intro: James (drs) & Louis (pno); solo: Marcus (tpt)].

Set 2: Take The A-Train (Duke Ellington, arr. Frank Foster) [solos: Joe (tnr), Marco (tpt); solis: sax section, tpt/tmb sections; coda: Josh D (drs)] : Laura (Stan Kenton, arr. Lennie Neihaus) [feature for Daniel H (tmb)] : The Lady Is A Tramp (v) (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) [Kezia (voc); solos: Marco (tpt), Joe (tnr)] : There Will Never Be Another You (Harry Warren, arr. Ian Bufton) [intro: Dan M (bari); theme: Brindley (tpt)] : Mr PC (John Coltrane) [solos: Marco (tpt), Sean (alt), Menelik (bs), Oscar (clt)] : Gull’s Groove (NYJO London) [intro: Kieron (pno) + Josh D (drs) + Laure (perc); solos: Asha (curly sop), Oscar Clt), Jack (alt), Sean (alt), Ben W (bs gtr), Menelik (bs), Marco (tpt), Louis (tpt), Josh D (drs)] : Fun Time (Sammy Nestico) [solo: Louis (pno), Robert (drs)] : Big Band (Swinging) Christmas (Various, arr. Paul Lyons) [no solos] : Mantica (Dizzy Gillespie) [intro: Louis (pno) + Max (drs); solos: Joe (tnr), Chris (tmb)].

( these numbers were performed by NYJO London : #Music Directors/*mentors from NYJO)

Jottings: This unique double-header gig, ably led by current NYJO sax players Ian and Phil, gave a welcome, albeit rare, opportunity for the young musicians in NYJO’s development bands – NYJO2 and NYJO London – to perform in front of a live audience; indeed, this was NYJO London’s first ever public performance!

The keyboard’s late arrival gave Phil and NYJO co-mentor Chris an opportunity to Don’t Mention… a Mark Nightingale blues to get proceedings under way in relaxed style before embarking on the planned programme – which was well-chosen to display the wide-ranging capabilities of these talented young musicians.

Amongst the highlights of NYJO2’s sets were: Joe’s tenor solos on A-Train, Lady Is A Tramp and Mantica, not forgetting his seasonal Jingle Bells feature…; Brindley’s trumpet contributions to Oliver Nelson’s Miss Fine and …Another You; Asha fleshing out Ken Woodman’s Footsie; and Kezia’s brace of vocals – Foggy Day and Lady Is A Tramp – the latter also featuring a fine trumpet solo from Marco.

NYJO London’s four numbers showed the somewhat different direction in which this band is going – placing the emphasis more on collaborative band contributions to the music and less on traditional written arrangements. The band’s chosen programme was interesting – it’s not often that we hear Roy Hargrove and John Coltrane numbers at The Manor (or Dave Brubeck, come to that!) and the group acquitted themselves well, particularly on their original, Gull’s Groove, which gave each of them a chance to solo.

Other players who made an impression during this session were: Charlie, who not only produced some delightful guitar solos but also contributed subtle support in the rhythm section all afternoon; Louis, who was kept well occupied doubling on trumpet and keyboard, producing a nice piano solo on Fun Time; Daniel H, whose trombone feature on Lennie Neihaus’s version of Laura was first-class; and not forgetting 11-year old drummer Josh D, whose self-evident skill, enthusiasm and technique was astounding.

Review : Steve Harris/Ian Fielding : Photos : Chris Glass