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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

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.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival 2020: Youth Section (Day 3) - Mar 1

(By Russell)

Early Sunday afternoon and the little matter of nine youth bands up for examination. Three bands from the region plus six from further afield, including the feared Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, made for a wonderful closing session at this year's GNBBJF in Chester le Street. WYJO as defending champions, who, if any, could beat them? 

The local bands were first in line. In the absence of erstwhile MD Paul Edis, Jambone (Conductor Graham Hardy), presented three compositions - two by Edis and one from Thelonious Monk (Stuffy Turkey). Edis, off to London to seek fame and fortune, left Jambone in the capable hands of friend and bandmate in many a line-up, Mr Graham Hardy. It's one thing to play standard big band repertoire, it's another thing entirely to get to grips with material written by an ensemble's guiding light. Nonchalant and The Town, both from the pen of Edis, coaxed an excellent ensemble performance with fine solo contributions on the latter number from last year's award-winning trumpeter Ferg Kilsby, tenor saxophonist Jack Pearce and pianist George Ivanov with the rhythm kings - Alex Shipley, bass guitar, Dylan Thompson, drums - keeping it firmly in the pocket.     

Durham County Youth Big Band (Conductor Shaune Eland) is one of many successful initiatives developed by Durham Music Service. Some of the best young musicians from across the county and Darlington Borough form the nucleus of the jazz ensemble which, over the years, has bagged more than a few prizes. Four numbers, one of them arranged by a DCYBB alumnus, brought out the best in the ensemble. Just FriendsThis Can't be Love, two tenor saxophonists impressing on Chameleon, then, to finish a most enjoyable set, Ghostbusters, as arranged by DCYBB old boy Matt Roberts. 

The Hexham crew turned up again. Turning a corner at Park View you were likely to bump into one of them. Tyne Valley Youth Big Band (Conductor Dave Hignett) played a blinder. The Eurythmics' hit Sweet Dreams set a feel good vibe and the band maintained the feel to the end of its set. Sophie Speed, alto, David Johnson, tenor sax, and Ben Haslam, trombone made an impression but it was left to Sam Armstrong to blow the roof off on A Night in Tunisia. At sixteen, Sam is a frighteningly good prospect. Let's see him mixing it at one of the local jam sessions - he'll more than hold his own! 

West Yorkshire is clearly doing something right. Four of the six remaining bands hailed from the Huddersfield-Kirkless area. The first of them - Scissett Youth Band (MD Johnny Beevers) - returned to GNBBJF 2020 with an in-the-round formation, more accurately a semi-circlular set-up. Eye contact, smiles, the brass, reeds and percussion (the two percussionists perhaps the youngest of the weekend's participants) ensemble's infectious performance was sure to win new fans if not silverware. 

The West Yorkshire connection continued as Musica Colne Valley Big Band (MD Julian Wightman) took to the stage. A first vocal number of the afternoon courtesy of Mark Taylor's arrangement of Sweet Georgia Brown momentarily diverted attention from a multitude of instrumentailsts. 

The previous day (Saturday) everyone at Park View knew what was coming...Bolton's Managers Big Band! Today, Sunday, the elephant in the room was none other than Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra (Conductor Dave Little). The Wigan set-up must be the envy of music tutors the length and breadth of the land. Well resourced? Probably. Dedicated individuals? Definitely. Awards galore, WYJO couldn't fail to win again or...we were about to find out. Strike Up the Band introduced the band to a, by now, packed hall. Cora Hayes' trumpet solo on Alianza followed by Kate Macadam singing Tangerine made one and all sit back and simply enjoy what had to be a winning performance. As he does during  every concert performance, MD Dave Little stood to one side, content to let the musicians on the stand do their thing. Scary or what?! Ishy Aasgaard's trumpet solo on the closing number - Caravan - closed the deal. If WYJO didn't win there should be a steward's enquiry! 

But wait! Three more bands wanted their say. Musica Holme Valley Big Band (MD Gavin Brown) picked up the gauntlet with Children of Sanchez, always a good choice at this event, opening the set. Vocalist Christopher Martin's outrageous Minnie the Moocher brought a smile to the face and Ursula Glendinning singing Toploader's Dancing in the Moonlight made for an entertaining twenty minutes or so. 

Wayne Shorter's Footprints (arr. Terence Blanchard, adapted by Ian Chalk) featuring Isaac Burland's mature bass playing set York Music Forum Jazz Orchestra (Conductor Ian Chalk) on course for a good showing. What were the adjudicators thinking?

The final band to perform at this year's Great North Big Band Jazz Festival - Musica Youth Jazz (MD Adam Kingham) - did so in front of a full house. Dreamsville (comp. Henry Mancini), Relax Max featuring Daisy Cameron's vocals and again on The Girl from Ipanema and a sure fire winner in a Daft Punk medley concluded matters. Over to the adjudicators...

The 2020 Great North Big Band Jazz Festival gratefully acknowledged sponsorship support from the Rotary Club of Durham Bede, Durham Freemasons, the University of Sunderland and the Musicians' Union. 

In addition to the established categories an award would be presented by the Mark John Bolderson Percussion Foundation. Adjudicators Mick Donnelly and Marcus Brown accompanied by Kenneth Howe (Rotary Club, Durham Bede) made their way onto the stage from which Festival Director Bill Watson would announce the results.

GNBBJF 2020 - Youth Section

Best Band: Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra

Best Soloist: Isaac Burland, bass guitar (York Music Forum Jazz Orchestra)

Best Section: Rhythm section (York Music Forum Jazz Orchestra)

Most Interesting Programme: Musica Youth Jazz

Adjudicators' Award: Kate Macadam, vocalist (Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra)

Adjudicators' Award: Jordan Trickett, tuba (Scissett Youth Band)

Adjudicators' Award: Daisy Cameron, vocalist (Musica Youth Jazz)

Mark Jon Bolderson Percussion Award: Dom Neeson (Tyne Valley Youth Big Band)   

Russell

1 comment :

N Armstrong said...

A big thank-you to Russell for completing his GNBBJF Marathon- so many bands, so many musicians, so many reviews...and full credit to Bill Watson and his team for another great festival.

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