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The Brisbane All-Star Youth Band: You Got It

Jack Bowers By

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On the one hand, I'm a strong supporter of youth bands—always an admirable enterprise, and the more the merrier, I say. On the other hand, I'm no great fan of big band vocalists, even Ella or Sarah or whoever, preferring instead to hear the ensemble assume a starring role instead of comprising the supporting cast. So I have mixed emotions about You Got It by the Brisbane All-Star Youth Band, nine of whose thirteen selections feature vocals by Megan Washington and/or Clancy Kneebone.

While applauding the earnestness and enthusiasm of these young musicians, ages 14-19, I wish there were more instrumental give-and-take and less singing. Washington and Kneebone (both female, by the way) are heard on four numbers apiece and together on the closing track, Peter Allen's "I Still Call Australia Home." Eleven numbers were arranged by Ed Wilson, who leads his own big and plays a mean trombone as well; "You Got It" and "Sydney by Night" by their respective composers, Tom Garling and Australian legend James Morrison.

Besides "You Got It" and "Sydney," the instrumental tracks include Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and the folk song "Click Go the Shears." Although the various solos are brief and unsteady, one never knows when another raw but talented prototype of Morrison or Wilson may suddenly appear—everyone has to start somewhere—which heightens one's sense of excitement and anticipation.

According to the liner notes, the Brisbane Youth Band was formed "to provide advanced music students the opportunity to rehearse, professionally record, tour and perform with young musicians who have similar aspirations and the same desire to further their study of music to the highest level." One certainly can't argue with that ambition. And even though I'd rather hear the band, singers have to learn their craft too, so I wish Megan and Clancy the best as they endeavor to make their own musical dreams come true.


Title: You Got It | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Driza-Bone

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