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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Harvey: "The exciting day arrived and we [as under age school boys] snuck into the [pub's] rehearsal room, sat awkwardly to attention on hard chairs in a row facing the band and heard our first - very loud - live jazz. What an occasion that was - we even drank beer because we understood that's what jazz people did and that's what the band were drinking." - (Just Jazz June 2020)

Dave Rempis:Ten years from now, I can see musicians streaming concerts in real time and charging a minimal amount for people to watch.” - (DownBeat September 2013)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

CD Review:Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra - Efferevescence

Youth Jazz Orchestra no longer conjures up images of well-intentioned youngsters vainly attempting to emulate their peers. Quite the contrary. Like NYJO and many of the bands who will compete in this year's Sunderland Big Band Festival (March 3-5 at Chester le Street) the YJOs are of a standard where they can hold their own with just about any of the more seasoned performers. This is due, of course, to the ability of some of those seasoned performers to pass on their wisdom to the emerging talents. In the case of the TSYJO there can be few better equipped to bring out the best in a band than Tommy Smith. Equally at home with the internationally acclaimed Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, or a small band, or a symphony orchestra, Smith can do the business. On this third album by the TSYJO tribute is paid to some vintage numbers and some fresh interpretations of more contemporary jazz classics.

Apple Honey: The old potboiler from Woody's First Herd. It's near enough the original arrangement with the young soloists capturing the spirit of the original. Michael Butcher is Flip, Liam Shortall close enough to Bill Harris to almost fool you, Helena Kay plays some smooth clarinet that is perhaps nearer to Benny than Woody, Fergus McReady holds Ralph Burns to a score draw and Tom Walsh takes it out on a [literal] high.
The Way You Look Tonight: Florian Ross' imaginative arrangement features Jackson on alto and Garrity on trombone. Two assured soloists who do credit to Tommy Smith, Ross and - Jerome Kern. I doubt if the latter's estate will be going to litigation over this as they once did over a version of a Kern tune by Dizzy!
Blues March: It may not have the earthy rawness of the original version by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, indeed, I doubt if any of the umpteen versions recorded since then have matched it but, nevertheless, the TSYJO make a decent fist of it with solos by Bates, Stylianides and Bowden.
Humpty Dumpty: The first of two Chick Corea numbers showcases Williamson, Johnstone and Henderson in another Ross arrangement. None of whom took a great fall but did take great solos and nobody laid an egg
Tam O' Shanter: An original by Sean Bates that, as the title implies, takes us through the heather to Bannockburn to the skirl of Joe Williamson's guitar with maybe a wee dram on the way and a Michael Butcher chaser on the way back.
Nefertiti: Ross arranged the Miles Davis classic as a tenor feature for Butcher who does his growing reputation no harm.
Things to Come: Needless to say, the trumpets needed their lip in for this one taking Dizzy's look to the future even further forward. Gibbs and Kay the soloists with Henderson propelling the spaceship.
Bud Powell: A second helping of Chick Corea, this time arranged by Christian Jacob, has Gibbs once again in the spotlight and the first glimpse of Tessier on tenor. It rounds off an album that restores my faith in the future - at least jazzwise!
Lance.
Tom Walsh, Sean Gibbs, Joshua Elcock, Christos Stylianides, Cameron T Duncan, Tom Clay Harris (trumpets); Michael Owers, Liam Shortall, Kevin Garrity, Richard Foote (trombones); Helen Clay (alto/clarinet), Adam Jackson (alto), Samuel Tessier, Michael Butcher (tenors), Heather Mackintosh (baritone); Joe Williamson (guitar), Fergus McCreadie/ Pete Johnstone (piano), David Bowden (bass), Stephen Henderson (drums); Tommy Smith (MD/producer).
Available on Spartacus Records. Contact ts@spartacusrecords.com.

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