The Jazz Concert is a hot ticket, and there was an excited buzz as the rhythm section strode on. Will M’s drumming sharp and sophisticated, Tommy W’s electric bass confident and punchy. On keyboard, Molly “relax I’ve got this” D. The saxes and brass filed on, Alex Arkwright (AJA) admonished us for lacklustre
cheering, and launched into the uplifting Groove Walk. The Big Band makes a great sound, with rich resonant saxophones, bright brass, and electric bass/keys giving a modern edge.
Bella B got a late call up on vocals (that’s showbiz) but nailed Nobody But You with good jazz feel and
strong low register. Next, anarchy – Mingus’s Moanin starts with a quirky attention seeking baritone sax solo –
Ben A was virtuosic, playing as if Mingus wrote this just for him. A wild be-bop journey followed, with good solos including Jack H letting go a bit on trumpet, then a crazy mass improvisation which somehow landed safely. On to the first of two of iconic funk numbers requiring razor sharp horns. No pressure then. Up Town Funk was belted out, the trumpets tonguing furiously, and we were ordered to the bar for a breather.
The Sax Ensemble changed the mood with Stemmin, developing a relentless minor theme. Emily C soloed melodically on alto, with Annabel S on soprano sax a bonus. Carnival followed with a reggae feel and great choreography. The Jazz Ensemble treated us to some Duke Ellington, Elliot R leaning into an expansive piano solo, and followed with some Latin blues, ideal for some improvisation. Great potential from this younger cohort. A string quartet appeared, a creative move in a jazz gig, with a brilliant Argentine tango. Bo G and Lottie V anchored well on cello/viola as the violin talent to their right soared away.
The Big Band returned with Cute. Will (drums) flexed his muscles with an accomplished brushes solo, Freddie V also carried off a superb written tenor solo. Next, at pace, Pick Up The Pieces, giving energy to a range of individual highlights. Leavers signing off included Tommy (bass), Abi R and Cally C (alto sax), Lottie D (Trumpet), and some dancing keyboard. AJA (foolishly) tried to cut short Ollie D’s moment on trombone – he motored on with a big sound. So many players were given the opportunity to step up, epitomizing the ‘have a go’ mood. An African dance riff to wrap up, AJA joined in on trumpet, but in the end left the glory where it belonged… with the band.
Review by Mike Doherty (Parent)