Julian Joseph, BBC Radio Big Band

DAVID WAKEFIELD As packages go, and particularly for big band fans, this was one to make the mouth water. The combination of a young and gifted pianist/composer/arranger with one of our national treasures – for the BBC Big Band is no less – made this penultimate jazz event in the Norfolk and Norwich Festival an outstanding success.

DAVID WAKEFIELD

As packages go, and particularly for big band fans, this was one to make the mouth water. The combination of a young and gifted pianist/composer/arranger with one of our national treasures – for the BBC Big Band is no less – made this penultimate jazz event in the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, at StAndrew's Hall, Norwich, an outstanding success.

The programme was divided, with a main section devoted to Joseph's work, either as composer or arranger, directed by him; and the remainder with the big band's regular director, Barry Forgie, at the helm. It was recorded for BBC Radio 3, for broadcast on Saturday, May 17.

Sparked by the fabulous drumming of Mark Mondesir, the band really roared along all evening, providing a platform for some accomplished solo work, notably by Gerard Presencer (trumpet and flugelhorn), Andy Wood (trombone), and saxists Nigel Hitchcock, Vic Ash and Martin Williams, plus the sparkling piano work of Joseph himself.

Pick of the evening? A difficult one, that, but I really enjoyed Julian Joseph's arrangement of the old Duke Ellington number Come Sunday, and a rollicking version of Bob Florence's In A Samba Mode.

But standing out, head and shoulders, was Gerard Presencer's work on Gershwin's How Long Has This Been Going On, an exquisite and technically superb display of flugelhorn playing.

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The jazz element, good all week, really stepped up a gear with this one, and sets the stage perfectly for the Branford Marsalis concert tomorrow evening.

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