Thursday, June 14, 2018

New Jazz Orchestra - 1965 - Western Reunion (London 1965)

New Jazz Orchestra 
Western Reunion (London 1965)

01. Big P
02. Shades Of Blue
03. So What
04. If You Could See Me Now
05. Tiny's Blues
06. Milestone
07. Django
08. Maria
09. Western Reunion

Directed By, Leader – Neil Ardley
Alto Saxophone – Barbara Thompson
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Trevor Watts
Baritone Saxophone – Sebastian Freudenberg
Bass – Tony Reeves
Bass Trombone – Peter Harvey
Drums – Jon Hiseman
Flute, Alto Flute – Les Carter
French Horn – Mick Palmer
Piano – Lionel Grigson (tracks: 5)
Piano – Mike Barrett (tracks: 1 to 4, 6 to 10)
Tenor Saxophone – Dave Gelly
Tenor Saxophone – Tom Harris
Trombone – John Mumford, Paul Rutherford
Trumpet – Bob Leaper
Trumpet – Mike Phillipson
Trumpet – Tony Dudley
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Ian Carr
Tuba – Dick Hart

Recorded at Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London 14 March 1965

The New Jazz Orchestra (a.k.a. NJO) was a big band directed by bandleader / arranger / composer Neil Ardley and consisted of the best up-coming Jazz players on the British scene at the time (Ian Carr – trumpet, Paul Rutherford – trombone, Trevor Watts – sax, Barbara Thompson – sax, Tony Reeves – bass, John Hiseman – drums and many more). Ardley ran the orchestra with an “iron fist” and in time turned it into a perfectly well oiled ensemble, which was able to perform even the trickiest arrangements with a breeze. His outstanding arrangements of classic Jazz pieces are all masterpieces of rare beauty and sophistication and he manages to get out of the band so much more that an average US big band playing similar material. Of course the soloist, who are all quite outstanding, add another dimension to the overall sound, which is truly heavenly. This is the first album by NJO and includes mostly standards by American (Miles Davis, John Lewis) and British composers, but one of Ardley’s compositions is also included. Ardley, who was an admirer of Gil Evans, developed a distinctive “orchestral” (rather than traditional big band) sound with NJO, using the various sections of the band to complement each other’s sound and tonality. The overall effect is absolutely stunning and this is one of my all time favorite big band albums. This is essential listening to all big band fans and recommended to all Jazz listeners out there. A true gem!

1 comment: