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Jazz at the Bridge

Future generations will look back on the astonishing 2017 Jazz @ the Bridge at Warwick School with misty eyes.

The standard of musicianship and entertainment achieved by the school ensembles was simply stratospheric.

David Storer, Head of Jazz and Rock at Warwick School, host for the evening, gave the audience his humour, charm and Hollywood patter which set the tone for the evening.

The concert commenced with talented musicians of Little Big Band playing a selection of numbers including: All of Me, Chameleon and Minnie the Moocher. This was followed by the Warwick School Jazz Collective led by John Fleming performing Sigmund Romberg’sSoftly, as in the Morning Sunrise’. Jazz Combo, a larger ensemble of older students led by Mr Storer followed with Teen Town, an up tempo Latin number by Jan Pastorius featuring the unique talents of bassist extraordinaire Barney Whittaker.

Perhaps the highlight of the evening was The Lingus Project, which concluded the first half. Lingus is a composition by Michael League, leader of the contemporary jazz ensemble Snarky Puppy. The irrepressible Sam Young approached Mr Storer with the idea of performing this work at Jazz @ the Bridge. Sam subsequently transcribed the work (taking countless hours of work) and produced working parts for an elite ensemble of students and teachers. The overall effect was mind bending and can be seen on Warwick School Music YouTube.

The second half was no less spectacular commencing with the phenomenal Big Band led by the athletic Tom Lindsay. This impressive and highly disciplined group performed: Blues in Hoss Flat, Tastes like Chicken and (a favourite of the band) Can’t Buy Me Love.

The quality of musicians on the staff at Warwick School was highlighted in a performance by the Teacher’s Band including: John Fleming (tenor sax), Tom Lindsay (piano), David Storer (bass) and Mark Lloyd (drums). Miles Davis’ All Blues spotlighted Mr Fleming’s warm tenor sound and flawless technique, prefaced by an extended bass solo from Mr Storer. Should this magisterial ensemble not be rebranded as The Masters of Jazz?   

The concluding items were four solo features from the National Concert Band Festival (NCBF) multiple Platinum winners Jazz Lab, who played: Alianza, Besame Mucho, Samantha and Over the Rainbow. Wendy Miles added a touch of glamour to proceedings with her consummate performance of Something’s Gotta’ Give. Jazz lab burnt the house down with their encore Johnny Come Lately.

Sincere thanks to all students and staff who contributed to such a memorable evening. The Bridge House Theatre was filled to capacity for two successive nights and raised £3,416.00 for the Acorns Children’s Charity.