1 June 2019

Big Band Scene (June 2019)

Patrick Billingham rounds up the latest big band news from around Sussex.


I was unable to go to Big Band@Brunswick last month to hear The One World Orchestra. But I have received reports from some who were there. To remind you, this band evolved from The Paul Busby Big Band. Paul has written and arranged over two hundred wonderful charts from every jazz genre – swing, latin, fusion, funk –  now played by big bands across the county, and indeed around the world. Which, incidentally, are available, free, from www.scoredchanges.com. Although a donation to charity would be appreciated.

Under the baton of Paul Nieman, the orchestra showed what a team of star players can do with some of Busby’s tougher material. Some charts were from his Sussex, Brighton, Watermill and One World Suites. Others are inspired by Sussex landmarks, local characters, friends – even Kim Jong Un.   

This big band is an egalitarian outfit: everyone gets to star at some point. So a fair review of the top solo-moments quickly becomes a list of band members. The high quality solos felt an integral part of the chart, rather than something merely tacked on. Magic solo moments, lifted by lush backing harmonies and powered along by the rhythm section. 

The line up was Beccy Rork, Philippe Guyard, Phil Paton, Angèle Veltmeijer, Andy Pickett, saxes; Jon Brown, Martijn van Galen, Bob Turner, Martin Bradley, trumpets; Peter Mansfield, Tarik Mecci, Jim Prior, Dave Macari, trombones; Alice Hawkes, Jerry Dearden, Chris Britt, Phil Naylor, rhythm.

One World Orchestra’s next gig is November 3 at the Brunswick.  Not be missed. 

My grateful thanks to Andy Batkin and Annie Lightly who provided the bulk of this review.

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to take part in a residential contemporary big band weekend, Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, in South Wales, led by Steve Waterman and Alan Barnes. The participating musicians were from all over the United Kingdom, including half a dozen Sussex stalwarts.

Most of the sessions were devoted to rehearsing charts written by Steve and Alan as well as those of local bass player Alun Vaughan. The music is exciting and challenging, but not so different from that played by our various local Jazz Orchestras. One session each day was allocated to discussion of technique, and for an additional fee, individual tuition was offered. Friday and Saturday evenings were devoted to jam sessions involving ad hoc small groups, including a memorable baritone sax quartet.

This was the fourteenth such annual weekend. I hope to give advance notice, later this year, of the fifteenth.

Continuing the appeal for help to find parts for incomplete pads here is a further selection. As before, some parts may not be missing at all; the arrangement may be five saxes and five brass and three rhythm section.

Here, is a further selection:-

Let It Be Me – in Bb, (arr. Paul Tanner) – Drums

Sing, Sing Sing – in G, (arr. Spud Murphy) – Piano

Smoke Gets In Youe Eyes – in Eb, (arr. Jack Mason) – Trumpet 1, Piano

The Continental – In Eb, (arr. Jimmy Lally) – Trumpet 1

The Impossible Dream – In Bb, (arr. Ed McLin) – Alto 2, Tenor & Bari saxes

The Nearness Of You – In C, (arr.Al Cobine) – Trumpet 2

These Foolish Things – In Ab, (arr, Don Bowden) – Trombone 1

This Nearly Was Mine – In Eb, (arr.Jimmy Lally) – Trombone 1, Piano

Tiger Of San Pedro – In F, (arr. Paul Lavender) – Alto 2, Tenor 1

More to follow in later columns as space permits.

In addition, does anyone have Glenn Miller’s version of Moonlight Sonata?  If so please let me know if you can email me a copy,

If you can assist, the preferred format is a pdf file.  Failing that, please photograph the part, and send it to me as a jpg file. If your band’s library appears to be missing any parts which are not on the database, I will add them to this list for publication in future columns.

Next month: Hopefully another band profile, and more news about big bands based in, or appearing in, the county. If you would like your band featured, and I have not already contacted you, please get in touch. Anything else, such as gig news, or feedback on this column, that you would like me to include in July’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Thursday 6th June. Apologies for the earlier than usual deadline, but I am away during the middle of the month. My email address is g8aac@yahoo.co.uk. 

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