Winston Rollins Big Band @ The Manor – 23rd September 2012

Winston Rollins Big Band @ The Manor – 23rd September 2012In The Band: Winston Rollins (trombone, right) leading Mike Gorman (keyboard); Mike Bradley (drums); Fraser Snell (bass); Mike Davis, Enrico Tomasso, Jon Scott, Tom Walsh, Martin Shaw (trumpets); Ashley Horton, Callum Au (tenor trombones), Pete North (bass trombone);  saxophones: Toby Stewart & Adrian Revell (tenors), Lucas Dodd & Simon Willescroft (altos), Derek Nash (baritone).

Set 1: Be Bop Charlie (Bob Florence) [soli: sax section; solos: Toby, Callum; coda: Mike B] : Groove Merchant (Thad Jones) [intro: Mike G; soli: sax section; solos: Derek, Lucas, Mike G] : Tattoo (Don Menza) [solos: Martin (flgl), Winston] : Chelsea Bridge (Billy Strayhorn, arr. Bob Florence) [feature for Tom] : Whisper Not (Benny Golson) [feature for Adrian] : I’ll Remember (Bob Florence) [intro: Mike G; solo: Toby] : Parenthia (Stan Kenton) [solos: Martin, Winston, Simon, Adrian, Mike G] : Collages (Don Menza) [solos: Enrico, Callum, Mike B]

Set 2: Party Hearty (Bob Florence) [solos: Mike G, Toby; solis: tpt/tmb sections, sax section; solo: Enrico; coda: Mike B] : Blue Daniel (Frank Rosolino, arr. Rob McConnell) [solo: Callum; soli: tmb section; solo: Winston; 3/4 soli & coda: tmb section] : Autumn (Bob Florence) [intro: tpt section a capella; feature for Adrian] : Nobody’s Human (Bob Florence) [solos: Lucas, Derek, Mike B] : Moose The Mooche (Charlie Parker) [feature for Simon; soli: sax section; solo: Martin (flgl)] : Willow Crest (Bob Florence) [intro: Mike G; soli: sax section; solos: Callum, Lucas, Mike B]

Jottings: Just 5 months after his first appearance leading a band at The Manor in nigh on five years, Winston returned with his ‘very good friends’ for another great session of late period big band numbers to enliven a wet Sunday in September…

It was also a welcome return for a number of musicians we haven’t seen here in a while – Fraser, Ashley, Pete and Simon – while at least two of the band – Mike D and Toby (recommended by a flu-ridden Claire McInerney) – were making their Manor debuts.

Winston Rollins Big Band @ The Manor – 23rd September 2012Much of the music was from the days of the band’s gigs many years ago at Ruislip Golf Club and, even earlier, the Bass Clef – in fact, Winston had had to re-copy a number of the parts since the originals had degraded considerably. It was well worth it though!

Highlights of a uniformly remarkable session included: Don Menzes’ rarely-heard, laid-back swinger Tattoo, featuring solos from Martin, on flugel, and Winston; an astonishing reading of Chelsea Bridge by Tom, almost eclipsing Guy Barker’s definitive version; Adrian’s (right) tenor feature on Benny Golson’s Whisper Not; and Stan Kenton’s attractive Parenthia – one of the re-copied numbers – which gave Simon a first Winston Rollins Big Band @ The Manor – 23rd September 2012solo.

Other notable performances were: Mike G, Toby, Enrico and Mike B on Bob Florence’s rousing Party Hearty; the trombone section, both collectively and individually, on Frank Rosolino’s Blue Daniel, with its nice 3/4 soli into the coda; Lucas and Derek enjoying themselves on the curiously titled Nobody’s Human; and Simon’s (left) rip-roaring alto on Moose The Mooche, another wonderful chart from the band’s distant past…

Finally, a particular mention for the rhythm section – Mike G, Fraser and Mike B who performed mightily all afternoon to keep the band in a relaxed yet insistently swinging groove. Super stuff!

Review: Steve Harris/Ian Fielding