For 30 days (from 12 November 2020) you can watch in full, for free, the Royal Academy of Music Big Band under Nikki Iles playing some wonderful music by female jazz composers. Many congratulations to everyone involved in putting it on, this was great to be part of.
Some background info and assorted media (further down) from Tour 2012.
Leeds University Union Big (formerly Dance) Band, which I play bass for and used to MD, just got back from the annual tour of France. This involves going to the same campsite near Bergerac every year, which is nice because it means the gigs we play around the area are always sold out.
Matt Yardley and George Millard are MD-ing from lead trumpet and lead alto respectively this year and have taken this year’s talented group of musicians further than I imagined the band would ever go musically, so well done them. Recordings featuring them are further down this post.
What has been most fortunate though is that this happened to coincide with the presidency of James Kelsall who has done more, and done it better, than any performance-group-leader I’ve ever met. At last year’s AGM, dressed up in period drama costumes on tour, he had two ambitious aims: record a studio album, go and play at the North Sea Jazz Festival. The CD, ‘Swingin[g] from the Treehouse’ is now becoming available, and in July we’re going to play at North Sea. Along the way we’ve also recorded music and video for ITV’s upcoming drama Mrs Biggs and on 12th May we’re bringing the very famous Liane Carroll to Leeds for a gig. It’s all pretty amazing and makes me very glad to have happened to be studying at Leeds this year. Well done JK!
Here are some bootleg recordings from my phone and a few videos from tour.
Concerto for cootie — matt yardley, trumpet
Lovely Ellington chart, very very carefully arranged and excellently played. 2:39 onwards is pretty cry-y.
bei mir bist du schon — george millard, clarinet
Funny sort of dance hall style chart, the kind where on the video all the musicians’ bodies and smiling faces are perfectly stationary apart from e.g. drummer’s arm or conductor’s hands.
Samantha — George Millard, alto sax
(Featuring George on his main instrument.) Eyeshadow is even more fitting on this tune for some reason.
BBC Grandstand — arr. jj williamson
An arrangement I did a while ago to test out Sibelius 7 Sounds, finally finding use as a way to provide nostalgia for British ex-pats.
Under the sea — arr. jj williamson
I arranged this as a special request for a sea themed ball we did. Jamie Lambert’s vocals manage to be completely authentic without being racist at all.
Almost like being in love
Arrangement as done by Natalie Cole, and one of my favourite songs ever. Vocals from Loucin Moskofian.
Power ballad time. Corine Sheratte singing, George Millard on sax again.
Cheese and carrots
Brilliant band chart. George Millard on alto again (my dad seems to prefer videoing tunes with him soloing), and Ciaran Diston on trumpet. Hugely appropriate tritone substitution at the end, well done me. Also featuring my dad and little sister arguing about who has the dubious privilege of holding the iPad.