How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The Brassery is an energetic young student ensemble affiliated with the eight–year–old Nottinghamshire Education Brassery in Nottingham, England (yes, the home base of the infamous sheriff in Robin Hood ). The band was formed in the spring of 1992 and since then has performed at a number of venues in its area as well as at the fourth Poznan (Poland) International Jazz Fair in November ’96, an appearance commemorated on disc 2 of this double–disc set (but recorded, as was the other, in Nottingham). Disc 1 dates from August ’96, disc 2 from December of that year. The band’s repertoire is eclectic, encompassing Jazz tunes as well as popular songs from the ’40s almost to the present. While The Brassery plays well as a unit, there’s no doubt that these are students learning the ins and outs of Jazz, as improvisations are rudimentary and charts are for the most part a shade below challenging. But they’re catching on fast, and we daresay that today, some four years removed from Twin Set and Pearls, the ensemble is no doubt markedly better. After all, in ’96, when these introductory recordings were made, The Brassery was only four years old and not yet ready even for pre–school let alone prime time. Even so, the ensemble as a whole sounds fairly tight, the rhythm section alert and responsive. So what we have here is a harbinger of things to come, and an engaging one at that. The building blocks are securely in place, and with a bit more maturity and woodshedding on those solos, The Brassery gives evidence that it may soon be able to take its place alongside NYJO, Midlands, Wigan, Doncaster or any of Great Britain’s other outstanding youth Jazz orchestras. Until then, an unsolicited word of advice — keep doing what you’re doing!
Contact:Alistair Conquer, Arts Support Service, Centre for the Performing Arts, College Street, Nottingham NG1 5AQ, England; phone +44 (0) 115 947 6202; fax +44 (0) 115 941 1073; e–mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Track Listing: Disc 1(The Summer Set)
Personnel: Phil Smith, conductor; Stephanie Roper, Ben Lee, Howard Brown, Matthew Colls, Ashley Buxton, Eddie Crane, Hugh Pascall, Nicola Morrell, trumpet; David Williamson, Tom Breeze, Simon Evans, Glynn Vardy, trombone; Michael Jones, Stuart Basten, tuba; Nicholas Smith, Melanie Head, Paul Greenwood, Lynsey Squires, Rachel Bull, alto sax; John Burch, Toby Kennedy, Dawn Harding, David Greenwood, Anna Lewis, tenor sax; Stephanie Wainwright, baritone sax; John Turville, Greg Arrowsmith, keyboards; Toby Kennedy, guitar, clarinet; Greg Arrowsmith, bass; Neil Wright, Peter Dale, drums; Jon Bath, percussion.