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Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra at Georgian Theatre Stockton

Adrian Tilbrook told me in advance that Issie Barrett's scores were challenging - he may have used an earthier description - and he was right! Fortunately, the VOTNJO boys proved themselves up to the occasion and the result was, for me, a landmark not just in local or even British Jazz but big band jazz without frontiers.
Ms Barrett, who not only composed and arranged her scores but also used her full body language to conduct them, is without doubt one of the most outstanding writers in the jazz field and, no doubt, beyond.
At times, the ensemble sounded as if Ellington had arranged something by Schoenberg for the Kenton Band. The power of the brass, often voiced atonally, contrasted with the harmonic variations from within the sax section whilst punched along by a rhythm section that rarely saw four beats in any one bar and yet, in a roundabout sort of way, it swung!
Not to be outdone, VOTNJO leader John Warren's own comps and arrangements also drew the best from the orchestra. Lew Watson's tenor solo on JJ's "Lament" - a moment of beauty - was a case in point. However, it is unfair of me to single any one player out - this was a team effort and, as such, all were deserving of the highest of accolades.

4 comments :

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your concise (as ever) review of today’s concert. We all had a great time performing John & Issie’s music and as a result of the rehearsals and performance feel that the band has reached a new level. I also appreciate that you and other jazz fans from the (Tyneside) region made the effort to come down to Teesside to give your support to the orchestra and in the most awful weather conditions. We very much appreciated your support. I’m at home now enjoying the memory of a life changing experience shared with 18 wonderful musicians.

Cheers

Adrian
PS: See you tomorrow for another session – Issie Barratt, John Warren on Sunday – Jim Mullen on Monday. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Anonymous said...

Adrian forwarded these lovely remarks from the great lady herself:
"What a lovely review! I LIKE IT'S SENTIMENTS!! Who wrote it? can't find the author's name... but then I'm pooped, exhilarated, and intoxicated!"
Issie Barratt

Anonymous said...

Hi Lance

An excellent review of a great gig.You are right,it is somewhat invidious to single out any one but special mention to Lewis Watson.His tenor solos on Noneffency and Lament were tremendous.The former,in particular,will live long in the memory

Russell

Lance said...

For the record:John Evans, Mark Roberts, Gordon Marshall, Graham Hardy (tpts). J. Milgate, Chris Hibbard, K.Norris, Alan Brady (tmbs). James Rushall, Andy Bennett, Lew Watson, Rod Mason, Bill Sneddon (saxes). Paul Edis (kybds). Andy Champion (bs). Adrian Tilbrook (dms). Issie Barratt & John Warren (conductor, composer, arranger etc.)
Thanks to Russell for correcting errors caused by jazzlag

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