Norwich Students Jazz Orchestra, Norwich

DAVID WAKEFIELD Fittingly, with the proceeds ultimately bound for Unicef, the youngsters of the award-winning orchestra provided a fine evening's entertainment under the guidance of musical director Dave Amis.

DAVID WAKEFIELD

Fittingly, with the proceeds ultimately bound for Unicef, the youngsters of the award-winning Norwich Students Jazz Orchestra at Princes Street United Reformed Church provided a fine evening's entertainment under the guidance of musical director Dave Amis.

With no training orchestra now available to him, Mr Amis has to manage a rather unwieldy set-up – his attitude is that any youngster keen and talented enough to take part gets in. Hence, the concept of Woody Herman's famous Four Brothers line-up fell into ruins, as we had the unusual sight of an 11-piece saxophone section!

The ensemble work, though, was good enough to get away with it, and the band sounded crisper as the evening went on.

The programme contained a mix of familiar big band standards, including Glenn Miller favourites, and jazz numbers. Following bands of this age-group for a number of years has shown me that they constantly surprise the onlooker; by rights, one ought to be surprised that they made such a good job of the Count Basie classic Flight of the Foo Birds, but I wasn't.

A real swinger, this, featuring some nimble solo work, explosive drumming from Lewis Wright (developing into a real “driver” behind the kit) and fine rhythm guitar chording in Freddie Greene style from Caroline Overy.

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Mr Amis is soon to retire; he will leave behind an ensemble full of talent ready to carry the jazz and big band torch forward.

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