244

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

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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 know if it’s the mic, the mix, the venue or what, but the voice is muffled and unclear, which is not how Sumudu sounds in person. There’s a tad too much reverb, and she seems to be singing slightly off–mic. We’re told on the tray card that the band was recorded in December ’98, Sumudu’s vocals added in August ’99, and therein may lie not only the reason for the ensemble’s clarity but for Sumudu’s comparative haziness and the fact that she is sometimes overshadowed by NYJO’s powerful brass and reeds. That’s too bad, for a number of reasons: first, Sumudu is a marvelous self–taught singer, so good that NYJO asked for the chance to record this album with her; second, the songs (all originals by NYJO director Bill Ashton and others) are more often than not spectacular, reminiscent of the Golden Age of popular music and deserving of a much wider audience; third, NYJO really knows how to back a vocalist, showing on every track why it is beyond any doubt the finest young band Great Britain has to offer. I suppose what we’re saying is that Sumudu — whose career is on hold while she attends medical school — is a terrific singer with excellent vocal and emotional range and no annoying mannerisms, NYJO is outstanding, the album is first–class in almost every way. If you don’t mind listening more than once to drink in every word that’s being sung, it should easily satisfy your thirst for vocals that celebrate the good old days when the most widely used four–letter word in popular songs was “l–o–v–e.”

Contact:Stanza Music, 11 Victor Road, Harrow HA2 6PT, United Kingdom; e–mail bill.ashton@virgin.net


Track Listing: Who

Personnel: Bill Ashton, Duncan Lamont (track 6), Matt O

| Record Label: NYJO | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "In For The Out" CD/LP/Track Review In For The Out
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Mujo" CD/LP/Track Review Mujo
by John Sharpe
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Akustik InventYours" CD/LP/Track Review Akustik InventYours
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!