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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Jazz Yorkshire showcase - fantastic final gig

James Hamilton directs the Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra

Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton, Leeds was packed on Sunday for a special extended afternoon of Jazz showcasing to the world the very best of Jazz in Yorkshire, and to celebrate the work of the Jazz Yorkshire organisation that has supported jazz in Gods Own County for the last ten years. The event was supported by Leeds Inpired.

James Hamilton's Yorkshire Jazz Suite was commissioned specially for this final event - and what a start it was - simply beautiful. The suite was in four movements - "The Dales," "Thrifty," "Tell It As It Is" and "Home Is All A Place Can Hope To Be." James conducted the Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra. James explained "Before I sat down to start work on it I approached people and asked them what Yorkshire means to them, what makes it what it is and what they believe to be at the core of “being Yorkshire”. The responses were wildly varied. A mixture of heartfelt accounts, and flippant, jovial remarks, enough emotive material to write a hundred suites. There was a nod to the brass band tradition in the 3rd movement with a reference to the hymn tune "Yorkshire." I tried to get some football chants and Brian Blessed in there too but I didn't have a big enough shoe horn!"

Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra then played a set under the direction of John Ellis - and how well they played. These events are made for surprises and this was no exception - band alumni and now international star Dennis Rollins was there on trombone - his "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" with the band was stunning.

Next up was the endlessly exploratory Bradford based pianist Matthew Bourne. Matt played at the first ever Jazz Yorkshire event in 1994 so it was fitting he played here at the final celebration too. He captivated the audience with a set of six improvised solo pieces

Kim Macari's "Locus" sextet followed. Kim is a Scottish trumpeter, an alumni of Leeds College of Music and now music entrepreneur who is now developing her career in Leeds. Her band features some of the young musicians for which Yorkshire is now famous - Riley Stone-Lonergan (tenor), Tom Riviere (bass), Steve Hanley (drums) - plus Sam Leak on piano and alto saxwoman Leah Gough Cooper.

The concert was wound up by multi-instrumentalist Al Wood with his quintet. Al is at home on alto and baritone saxophones, trombone and trumpet. He was a member of the Maynard Ferguson Big Band and was deputy head of jazz performance at Leeds College of Music. His quintet played a lovely set of unusual tunes. Due to an illness to Tony Faulkner,  Bob Howard ably stepped in on drums

The final concert was the brainchild of Jazz Yorkshire chair Martin Coultas and it was a very fitting and thoroughly enjoyable end to a well regarded Jazz Organisation that got "chopped" (given the events of the past week, Arts Council please take note!)

Videos of the gig are here

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