Abingdon School plays JAZZ CD 1997 [63 minutes of music] Check video.


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In this CD we have the joint forces of Abingdons Big Band, together with the young jazz musicians of the Abingdon and Manor Preparatory Schools. The “Big Band Festival”, as it was named, comprised an evening of Jazz which also featured the the professional Big Colors Band from Oxford, including a number of players with Abingdon connections – Mark Doffman (a former Abingdon drum teacher), Simon Currie (sax teacher and Big Band Leader), Andy Townsend (trumpet teacher and Bandmaster), Tom Richards OA1999 (professional sax player with The Jamie Cullum Orchestra and leader of The Tom Richards Jazz Orchestra) and David Shiers (trumpet and Director of The Big Colors Big Band), a former Abingdon parent.
This innovative project enabled all the musicians to engage in the learning process of hearing top class jazz musicians and laying alongside them. The concert had a fantastic buzz and was hugely enjoyable – our thanks to Simon Currie for this wonderful idea which culminated in an enjoyable, educational and highly successful evening. We await the forthcoming Abingdon Jazz CD with eager anticipation!

R. Hutchins and N. Aston should be congratulated for their part in the quite outstanding recent CD release -‘Abingdon School Plays Jazz’.
Numerous members of the house have appeared in a variety of concerts this term, reflecting the range of talents
and tastes in music that exists. Early in the term D. Pearson (violin), C. Hockley (bassoon) and B. Hunt (piano) gave
performances during a GCSE Performers concert. B. Hunt went on to play his ‘cello in a joint concert with St. Helen’s
school. The house was well represented in the School Bands Concert in early May; performers in the First Wind
Band included M. Creffield (clarinet) and J. Tarasewicz, M. Walker (saxophone) and J. Persaud (Bassoon) are
members of the second Wind band. The house is ably represented by Mr. Finch in the Brass band (we need to find
some house recruits for this !) and N. Aston (Trumpet) along with A. Hutchinson and M. Walker (both saxophonists) who are members of the Big Band. In the Grand Orchestral Concert on the 20th June there were no fewer than eleven members of the house involved, these included C. Dugan, A. Apps, I. Smith, J. Dear along with others already mentioned. Also of note was M. Priest’s appearance in a recent informal concert when he played both the piano and his cello

This compact disc is, with the exception of the cassette recorded by the Chapel Choir some years ago, the first commercial recording of music at Abingdon. It surely represents the pinnacle of the many recent achievements of the Big Band, who are the main performers on the disc, and reflects the growing interest and developing skills in jazz playing that have been clearly
evident at the school for some years now. The recording of a compact disc is a major undertaking, and requires careful preparation, not least concerning the choice of music. The contents of this disc offers a wide spectrum of styles and contrasts. Nine of the seventeen tracks are performed by the Big Band; there are also four tracks played by the Jazz Ensemble, and three from the Saxophone Quartet interpolated at intervals between the tracks of the full band to provide variety. Perhaps the total sum of this is a rather disparate collection of music, but the performers are able to focus their talents in ever new directions. The recording itself is of a high quality; the venue as the Amey Hall, but the elose recording techniques used serve to give more the feeling of a studio. The balance tends to make the saxes and brass less prominent
than when heard live, but the blend is good. The playing is together; considerable effort must have been put in to
get the level of precision of the chorus saxophones and brass to the high standard attained in, for example, “How
high the moon”. Andy Bush is to be congratulated for his coaching here.
Many individual players also shine – the policy of using lots of different soloists works weil, showing a number of different approaches to the art of improvising melodic material. Underpinning them is the ever-stable rhythm section, which remains hugely impressive throughout the disco Perhaps what comes over most of all is the enthusiasm of the playing, not least in the final track, “Tequila”.
At occasional moments one remembers that this music is played by boys, none of whom are over the age of 18, yet
the overall achievement level is astonishing and the product a disc which is highly entertaining. The more I have
.heard this disc, the more impressed I have become. If you don’t have a copy already, then don’t delay in getting one
– there would be nothing more pleasing than to see the sales rocket, when this is so obviously deserved.

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Weight 0.25 kg


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