On Friday 15th September 2023, Nu Civilisation Orchestra and Nubya Garcia realised a 15-year dream held by Tomorrow’s Warriors Co-Founder Dr Gary Crosby OBE and took to the stage to perform Stan Getz’s seminal album Focus, a landmark piece of ‘third stream’ repertoire that marks the meeting point between jazz and classical music.

Merucry Prize nominee and TW alum, Nubya Garcia improvised over the original string arrangements (in much the same way Getz did on the studio recording) and brought her own interpretation and energy to the performance.

Saxophonist Stan Getz was already a heavyweight on the jazz scene with a 25-year career to his name when he approached acclaimed arranger and composer Eddie Sauter for what would become a ground-breaking collaborative work. Recognising Getz’s ability to improvise and weave between the music, Sauter composed a suite for a string orchestra and rhythm section, consciously leaving space for Getz to fill.

Ahead of the concert Dr Gary Crosby OBE, Artistic Director of Nu Civilisation Orchestra, explained “Getz’s and Sauter’s Focus is a truly elegant ‘third stream’ creation, the near-perfect balance between jazz and classical music. Nubya’s part will be wholly improvised to capture the spontaneity and musical essence that Sauter’s compositions sought to bring from Getz.”

“When I first met Nubya at Tomorrow’s Warriors fifteen years ago, and heard her play, I could already imagine her performing Focus with an orchestra. Of course, she knew about Getz back then but hadn’t heard the Focus album at that point. To have watched her develop as an artist and now complete the journey and take on this iconic chapter of jazz improvisation at a venue like the Royal Festival Hall is a truly special moment.”

The concert, produced by Tomorrow’s Warriors, also featured the world premiere of two new pieces by Black British composers, specially commissioned for the Orchestra, and funded as part of Tomorrow’s Warriors role as a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner. These were Chemy by Oleta Haffner and Peter EdwardsRicochet, and both compositions were greeted by the audience as  exciting additions to the Orchestra’s third stream repertoire.

The evening was therefore a wonderful display of musical creativity as well as a celebration of Tomorrow’s Warriors’ extraordinary contributions to the UK jazz scene over the past three decades.

Jazzwise, Tom Spargo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The concert was to have been conducted by NCO Musical Director Peter Edwards, however, due to unforeseen circumstances Peter was unable to be there on the night, and we are extremely grateful to Scott Stroman for picking up the baton at short notice.

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