Big Band Scene (Nov. 2017)

Patrick Billingham looks at the One World Orchestra and the Nu Civilisation Orchestra.

News flash: The Big Band @Brunswick events are to continue in 2018.  If you would like to book a slot, contact Alex Bondonno immediately at alex@bigbandjazz.co.uk.

    These events are usually on the first Sunday of this month.  However, this month it is on the second Sunday.  And features The One World Orchestra (mistakenly described as The New World Orchestra in last month’s column) and is not to be confused with the Nu Civilisation Orchestra appearing at the Brighton Dome two evenings later.

The One World Orchestra is based in Sussex and was formerly known as The Paul Busby Big Band.  Until 2016 when Paul retired, inviting the musicians to take over.  But Paul has not retired from composing. The event on 12th will include a number of pieces conceived and scored over this past summer.  Some of his new titles are typically topical such as “The Trump shall sound…and the twit will tweet”, In-fidel-ity”, “Walk The Walk” and “Saffie”, in memory of 8 year old Saffie Roussos who, along with others, was killed in the Manchester terrorist attack.

    Like The One World Orchestra, the Nu Civilisation Orchestra, based in The Barbican in London, was formerly known by another name.  Somewhat more aggressive than the ideals behind The One World Orchestra it was known as Tomorrow’s Warriors Jazz Orchestra.  Founded by bassist Gary Crosby and directed by composer, pianist and conductor Peter Edwards.  The name change was decided upon to avoid confusion with the youth jazz orchestra with a similar name.

    This event is a celebration of the centenary year of big band luminaries such as Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Buddy Rich, as well as jazz legends Tadd Dameron and Thelonious Monk.   The evening combines archive film with portraits with big band classics featuring some of the finest jazz musicians of the moment.  

    The programme also features a new work for big band by Peter Edwards entitled A Journey with the Giants of Jazz, which takes inspiration from motifs found in six of the jazz giants’ classic works, and deconstructs their themes to offer audiences a re-imagined musical experience. This new piece was commissioned by Turner Sims in partnership with Tomorrow’s Warriors for PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial, which this year forms part of the official Hull UK City of Culture 2017 programme.

The evening will be opened by talented musicians from six Brighton schools performing as part of The Jazz Ticket schools programme.

 

    In previous issues (SJM 51 & 58, April & November 2016) I discussed practice.  In each I promised to put a figure on just how little practice time you really need.  Obviously it depends on various constraints.  Such as the day job, family pressures and the neighbours.

    Too much practice can be harmful. I have met musicians who have had to stop altogether. In one case through developing RSI (repetitive strain injury).  In another, through developing tinnitus.  Nevertheless practice is important. For a horn player, it keeps the embouchure in trim, and for all players, it keeps the fingers supple.

    If you are in the fortunate position of being able to practice every day, one hour should be enough.  If only once a week, then a couple of hours, taking a break half way through.  If less frequently, still two hours.  A third hour will not bring much benefit unless there has been a break of several hours since the second hour.

    When I was able to practice daily, I broke up the hour into phases.  The first ten minutes or so were spent on long notes.  As a horn player, it helped improve my tone.  After that about twenty minutes was spent on scale practice.  Not all scales, but those relevant to the charts that the band was rehearsing, so that I became more fluent in those keys.

    The next twenty minutes or so was focussed on those passages, technically known as ‘the twiddly bits’ to ensure that they sounded fluent and helped keep the section tight.  The last ten minutes or so was spent playing the chart through, so that transition in and out of the twiddly bits became seamless.

    The actual structure of your practice time depends on the extent to which you want to play improvised solos.  A greater proportion may be required to develop fluency in the various scales and modes that are relevant to constructing a fluent effortless sounding solo.

 

    In SJM57 (August) I mentioned using this column to pass on requests. Here is one. Big Band Sounds rehearse on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at the East Sussex National Hotel, Little Horsted near Uckfield, TN22 5ES, from 8 until 10pm.  They are desperately short of trombones.  If you are a trombonist, or play a lower pitched brass instrument and can read bass clef, you will be welcomed. If transport is a problem, a lift can be arranged as other musicians in the band are based all over the county.  If you would like to help out, please contact Darren at ukbigbandsounds@gmail.com.

Yet another musician recently moved to the county got in touch with me at my email address below.  And has heard from a number of local bands after I circulated his details.  I have found deps for gigs by passing on appeals.  The system seems to be working satisfactorily.  So far.

 

Next month: more news and views, and hopefully, another band profile.  If you would like your band featured, or you know of any Sussex based big bands that I don’t know about, or I have not already contacted you, please get in touch.  Or if there is anything else, such as gig news, photographs, or feedback on this column, that you would like me to include in December’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Friday 24th November. My email address is, as ever, g8aac@yahoo.co.uk. 

 

Big Band Gigs

November – early December

 † a regular monthly gig

bold italics part of a regular series

 

Wednesday 1st November

†8:30 pm, The Fred Woods Big Band at the Horsham Sports Club, Cricketfield Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1TE (01403 254628).  £2 (Club members free.)

 

Thursday 2nd November

†7:30 pm, The Maestro Big Band with Nicki Day at the Hope Inn, West Pier, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9DN (01273 515389).  Free entry  

 

Sunday 5th November

†12:45 – 3:00 pm, Sounds of Swing Big Band at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (02035 645225).   Free entry.

 

Sunday 12th November

†12:00 – 3:00 pm, Groovin’ High Big Band at the Ravenswood Country House Inn, Horsted Lane, Sharpethorne, West Sussex RH19 4HY, (01342 810216).   Free entry. 

7:30 – 10:30  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: The One World Orchestra at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

 

Tuesday 14th November

7:00 pm, Nu Civilisation Orchestra at the Dome Concert Hall, Church Street, Brighton BN1 1UE, (01273 709709).  £15, under 18s free.

†8:00 – 10:30 pm, The Ronnie Smith Big Band at The Humming Bird Restaurant, Main Terminal Building, Shoreham Airport, West Sussex,  BN43 5FF (01273 452300).  Free entry with collection.

 

Saturday 18th November

7:30 pm, The Perdido Players’ Swing Band at St John the Evangelist Church, Lower Church Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex,  RH15 8HG (01444 230499).  £7.50, in aid of the air ambulance service.

8:00 pm, The Brighton Big Band at The Round Georges, 14-15 Sutherland Road, Brighton BN2 0EQ, (01273 691833).   Free entry.

 

Sunday 19th November

2:00 – 4:00 pm, The Sussex Jazz Orchestra at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

3:00 – 5:00 pm, Big Band Sounds at The Roebuck Inn, Lewes Road, Laughton, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6BG, (01323 811081).   Free entry.

7:30 – 10:30 pm, Swing with The Big Band, Straight No Chaser at The Hassocks Hotel, Station Approach East Hassocks, BN6 8HN (01273 842113).   Free entry.

 

Friday 24th November

†8:30 – 11:00 pm, The Les Paul Big Band at Patcham Community Centre, Ladies Mile Road, Patcham, Brighton BN1 8TA, £5.  For further details contact Steve (01273 509631) steven_paul1@yahoo.co.uk (Bring your own refreshments.)

 

Sunday 3rd December

†12:45 – 3:00 pm, Sounds of Swing Big Band at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (02035 645225).   Free entry.

7:30 – 10:30  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: The Brighton Big Band with Dave Williams at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

 

Wednesday 6th December

†8:30 pm, The Fred Woods Big Band at the Horsham Sports Club, Cricketfield Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1TE (01403 254628).  £2 (Club members free.)

 

Thursday 7th December

†7:30 pm, The Maestro Big Band with Nicki Day at the Hope Inn, West Pier, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 9DN (01273 515389).  Free entry  

8:00 pm, The CH Big Band at Christ’s Hospital Theatre, Christ’s Hospital School, The Avenue, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 0YP  (01403 247434).  £12/£11

 

Friday 8th December

7:30 pm, Christmas Trees with Cloggz On at St. Nicholas of Myra Church, Church St., off Dyke Road, Brighton BN1 3LJ (07746 198026)  £10/£8.   (Doors open 7 pm) 

 

Saturday 9th December

1:00 pm Christmas Trees at The Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 5EG (01273 464440).  Free Entry with collection (Doors open 12:30 pm)

 

 

Photo: The One World Orchestra in rehearsal. Photo by Patrick Billingham.