Bures Music Festival

Jazz by the Stour, Bures Music Festival, July 8

Jazz by the Stour, Bures Music Festival, July 8

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra brought more than eight hours of high class jazz to a swinging climax at the eleventh annual Jazz by the Stour. On a Sunday when the rains kept away, the NYJO filled the Festival marquee and beyond with as full-blooded and brassy a jazz sound as you can get.

Though the musicians are young it doesn't mean that the band is not the finished article. The orchestra is up there with the very best around. Many top British jazz musicians began their careers with the NYJO. It's founder and still its musical director, Bill Ashton, began it all forty-two years ago and its been a bedrock of British jazz ever since.

At Bures a local trumpeter was making his debut appearance in the NYJO's first team. Sixteen year old Tommy Walsh, from Colchester was the featured soloist in a number called Dizzy, a tribute to the jazz maestro Dizzy Gillespie. He played it on a trumpet like Dizzy's own, with the bell bent upwards.


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There's nothing more exciting in jazz than when banks of saxes, trombones and trumpets rip out uptempo numbers. This was a 22-piece band in top notch form, the cravatted and silver-haired Bill Ashton introducing a programme ranging from Cannonball Adderley's Cannon Fodder, to some assured ballad singing tune from the two young vocalists, Emma Smith and Atila Huseyin. The latter, performing with all the cool of a Forties Big Band crooner, is a remarkable emerging talent.

The whole day's programme was filled with NYJO links. The guest saxophonist in the Sarah Moule Quintet, the highly successful Dave O'Higgins, was in the NYJO for three years. The Sarah Moule Quintet played the late afternoon set and what a fine jazz singer she is, getting inside the mind of her songs. Alec Dankworth on bass, Paul Robinson on drums and Simon Wallace, Sarah's pianist/composer husband made a strong line-up.

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The set before that featured guitarist Jim Mullen with his Organ Trio. The guest soloist, saxman Stan Sulzmann - who's 60 next year - was in Bill Ashton's original NYJO line-up. Keyboard player Mike Gorman is another former NYJO man.

Jazz by the Stour's founding father, EADT Jazz critic Alan Crumpton is delighted that the event has now expanded to take in Choral Music, Blues as part of a week long Bures Music Festival.

In its eleven years, Alan told the audience, it has not only presented some top line jazz but raised more than £100, 000 for local charities.

Ivan Howlett

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