Webster defines a “student” as, among other things, “an attentive and systematic observer.” The young musicians in the Lancashire Students’ Jazz Orchestra — whose average age, we’re told, is fifteen — have evidently been paying close attention to their teachers, as the orchestra is much better schooled than one would expect from those who are wrestling with the basics of Jazz and learning how to work together as an ensemble. Having said that, it must be noted that they do sound like teen–age students who have plenty of rough edges to smooth before moving on to the next level. As a whole, however, the UK’s Lancashire County Council, which has supported the LSJO since it was formed in 1976, can be proud of what it has accomplished. Last Call is the orchestra’s fourth album, each one not only a benchmark but an incentive for the students to pursue a musical education, if not a career in music, as several LSJO alumni have done. The reeds and rhythm, as is usually the case among younger students, form the orchestra’s bulwark, with the brass somewhat shakier and the solos earnest but rudimentary. But as this is a learning experience, not a for–profit enterprise, everyone is happy if the students simply play as well as they can, which they assuredly do. Tomorrow they’ll play better, and next week or month even better than that. The orchestra has a vocalist, Rhiannon Banks (who doubles on percussion), and she’s heard on four numbers — “How Sweet It Is,” “As Long as I’m Singing,” “Love Takes Time” and “Birdland.” She may have a future, but the same holds true for any of these young musicians, as no one can predict what the future may hold for them — which is what makes teaching and learning so much fun. Today’s students, at least some of them, are destined to become tomorrow’s masters. Everyone has to start somewhere, and here’s a chance to listen in as a group of students takes its first tentative steps along a road that may or may not lead to musical success.
Contact:Big Band World, 3 Alston Road, Blackpool, Lancashire FY2 OTD, United Kingdom. Phone / fax 01253 596454; e–mail email@example.com; web site, www.bigbandworld.4t.com
Track Listing: Flight to Nassau; How Sweet It Is; A Sideward Glance; Remembrance; As Long as I
Personnel: Lawrence Williams, Rebecca Gordon, Karen Stemp, Susie Algie, alto sax; James Cruikshanks, Catherine Sewell, Adam Khomsi, tenor sax; Stephen Blythe, Vincent Tribello, baritone sax; Michael Davis, Neil Parkinson, Andrew Greenwood, Nicola Coupe, Amy Butters, James Isherwood, Colin Crook, Christopher Mather, trumpet; Alistair Sanderson, Michael Gordon, Christopher Mawdsley, David Butters, trombone; Matthew Beltcher, piano; Paul Lonsdale, lead guitar; Christopher Hargreaves, bass guitar; James Hoy, drums; Rhiannon Banks, auxiliary percussion, vocals.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.