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Album Review

National Youth Jazz Orchestra: London Pride

Read "London Pride" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As Great Britain's superb National Youth Jazz Orchestra is now a mature forty years old, it seems appropriate that it should honor the city of its birth, even though director Bill Ashton writes that London Pride was occasioned not by the orchestra's inexorable advance toward middle age, but rather by London's having won the right last July to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, an achievement that was tempered the following day by a deadly attack on the London underground transport ...


Extended Analysis

National Youth Jazz Orchestra: Two Suites by Paul Hart

Read "National Youth Jazz Orchestra: Two Suites by Paul Hart" reviewed by Jack Bowers

National Youth Jazz Orchestra Two Suites by Paul Hart NYJCD 2006

Two Suites represents a change of pace for Great Britain's splendid National Youth Jazz Orchestra, which has confined its previous albums for the most part to shorter original compositions by a variety of writers with a sprinkling of themes from the Great American Songbook. But as none other than John Dankworth writes in the liner notes, “If Paul Hart is not a genius, ...


Album Review

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra: Jasmine

Read "Jasmine" reviewed by Jack Bowers

There are at least four aspects of any new album by Great Britain’s superlative National Youth Jazz Orchestra that any prospective listener can be sure of without even opening the package: (1) it will be marvelously performed; (2) it will be immaculately recorded; (3) it will be generously timed; and (4) it will embody some of the most wonderfully written and harmoniously spectacular big-band arrangements one can envision.

Jasmine, the twenty-first NYJO album in this reviewer’s library, is certainly no ...


Album Review

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra Featuring Sumudu Jayatilaka: Who's Blue?

Read "Who's Blue?" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Unaccustomed as we are to hearing Great Britain’s superlative National Youth Jazz Orchestra play a supporting role, it’s for a good cause here — the debut recording of the band’s exciting young vocalist (nineteen years old when the recording was made), Sumudu Jayatilaka — and NYJO performs its assigned tasks with typical dexterity and aplomb. The problem is that the band is much better recorded than Sumudu, thus the lyrics are often hard to comprehend, especially at swifter tempos. Don’t ...


Album Review

National Youth Jazz Orchestra: Stepping Stones

Read "Stepping Stones" reviewed by Jack Bowers

My first thought on hearing a new recording by Great Britain’s remarkably talented National Youth Jazz Orchestra (the collection numbers 16) is always, “This has to be the best thing they’ve ever done,” followed immediately by “I can’t believe everyone in that band is under 25, and that many of them are still teen–agers.” Musicians their age simply aren’t supposed to play with that kind of poise, maturity, precision and know–how. But they do. And many of them are terrific ...


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