Bigger Sky and Dennis Rollins

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

It was inspired to finish the Festival on the premiere of this new Jazz work by Dennis Rollins, which set his ensemble alongside our own super community choir, Bigger Sky.

If you're not familiar with Rollins, the man is a genius trombonist, who literally sings on the instrument. Not frightened to mix in some ska or funk, his sound can be compared to the likes of Jazz Jamaica, but the ensemble mix made me think of Dave Holland. Unlike watching one of those big star American line ups, however, he had the knack of making you a part of it.

This piece, composed specially for the festival, engaged me right from the first beat. I wasn't sure, however, that others were following me.

Still, Rollins's writing was superb: a continual contrast of textures and shades that kept the ear longing for more.

Although sometimes it seemed there was a lack of edge in performance and too much of an 'all over' sound.

Most Read

As with many first outings, this seemed to me more a work in progress than a final product.

That's a great place for jazz to be: it's where improvisation comes alive. Rollins has opened a space for the choir to step into. I long to see them really take the plunge.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter