Showcasing a variety of ensembles in addition to the Big Band: the Senior Jazz Ensemble, the Gospel Choir and the Dixieland Jazz Band – as well as many talented and engaging soloists – the concert was a total sell-out and the vibe in the theatre was electric.
In the first half stand-out numbers included Harriet’s Tuxedo Junction, Ike’s Writing’s on the Wall, Hefti’s Duet (Luke and Jacob as duetting trumpets), and the Senior Jazz Ensemble playing Blowing Hills. Highlights of the second half included, Ella playing Everything Must Change, Maddie’s It’s not Unusual and the Dixieland Band’s Sweet Georgia Brown with Polly and Will duetting on the clarinet (and an excellent piano solo from Oliver). The two concert highlights for this reviewer were The Lady is a Tramp – in a fantastic arrangement of the standard by Mr Steve Titchener and Ms Rachel Taylor – and performed as a duet between Gabriel and Harvey, and Sing, Sing, Sing that gave solos to the departing Grecians, Will, Jacob and David. All three soloists were fantastic, but David’s exceptional drum solo deserves a special mention.
Of course, a concert like this is not just about the soloists, and the great joy of Big Band repertoire is the combination of different textures in the band. The horns were tight and vibrant throughout, and the rhythm section underpinned the whole enterprise with great dexterity (notable was great bass playing from Theo and keys from Leo).
The concert was ably compered by a variety of the soloists and directed by the incomparable Mr Titchener and Mr Carter. It seemed that neither the audience nor the musicians were wanting to leave the theatre at the end!