A Christmas Festival of Jazz with the SNJO and TSYJO
They better watch out, better not cry, better not pout because, as the song doesn’t go on to say, the next generation might be after their jobs. There was no sense of anti-climax in the “feeder team” – the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra – following their senior colleagues on the bill of this Christmas special. Indeed, by and large they sounded almost ready to follow in the footsteps of one of the evening’s star performers, trumpeter Sean Gibbs, in moving up to the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.Read more
Preservation and renewal were at the heart of this excellent celebration of one of jazz’s major pioneering figures. In the sixty-one years since his death, many have sought to capture Charlie Parker’s spirit. His tunes are still rites of passage for jazz players, and not just for those who take up his chosen instrument, the alto saxophone.
The past few years have seen the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra consolidate their international status and eclectically adventurous repertoire, having their sweet way with a Mozart piano, deconstructing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, collaborating fruitfully with American singers and Scandinavian bassists and, just this month, releasing yet another live concert album, this time recorded with US jazz-fusion saxophone hero Bill Evans. As they approach the end of their 20th anniversary year, this weekend past, however, saw them celebrating the legacy of one of modern jazz’s greatest game-changers in The Legend of Charlie Parker
Of all the many hours of music that the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra has played and shared over the past twenty-one years it’s the ensemble’s affinity with Charles Mingus that’s the most striking. The orchestra celebrated this most characterful of jazzmen’s work in the early years of this century with a firecracker of a concert and here it was again, with its distinguished guest, Norwegian double bass master Arild Andersen, metaphorically brawling, reeling and positively rocking in rhythm ’n’ hymns.Read more
It is hard to believe that already we are in August and shortly the schools will go back. It has been a busy year to date with some outstanding concerts featuring Mike Stern and Mike Mainieri as well as our Dave Brubeck concerts with guests, Bill Dobson who wrote wonderful new arrangements for the SNJO and John Nugent who played Paul Desmond’s role so eloquently. We are delighted to have another opportunity to play this during Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival.Read more
Is it appropriate to describe a vibes player as working up a head of steam? The essentially ethereal quality of the vibraphone may seem to suggest not, but acclaimed veteran player Mike Mainieri, reprising the music of his influential fusion outfit Steps Ahead in the frequently full-steam-ahead company of the SNJO, could certainly bring a dazzlingly kinetic energy to the instrument.