Queen-elizabeth-du_2178780c

Review by Alison Gunn – FINANCIAL TIMES – 18 September 2012

3-stars ***

From two established luminaries to the next generation: Tomorrow’s Warriors Youth Jazz Orchestra, aged mostly between 15 and 19. Conducted by Peter Edwards, they gave a rare performance of Duke Ellington’s work The Queen’s Suite, inspired when the composer was presented to Queen Elizabeth II in 1958. The six movements bear all the Ellington hallmarks of lush, singing reeds, silver-bright trumpets and swinging rhythm, with delicate piano notes floating above.

After a tentative start, the 16 players grew in confidence and expression. The saxophones had a nice balance in “Le Sucrier Velours”, but needed to make more of the off-beat accents. “Single Petal of a Rose” featured sensitive piano-playing from Joe Armon-Jones and a rich vibrato from Will Burcher on double bass. Most atmospheric was “Northern Lights”, by Billy Strayhorn. Backed by toms (again the luminous Moses Boyd) and a low bass throb, two warbling, cascading clarinets created the wonder of fireworks in the night sky.


By “Apes and Peacocks” the orchestra were at full pelt, at last communicating their enjoyment, and Ruben Fox gave a splendid tenor sax solo. For the band it was a great experience in playing an orchestral score; for the audience it was a pleasure to hear this beautiful piece delivered with a true feel for the iconic sound of the Duke.

 

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