Jazz Orchestra – Jack Lyons

Artist: Jazz Orchestra
Venue: Jack Lyons
Date: 13/06/08

Softly spoken Zezo Olimpio led the Jazz Orchestra through a versatile and varied program. Opening with ‘Puca’ by postgrad Peter Moran, the audience were hit with what I can only describe as a mêlée of sound, from which themes grew and developed. The student input continued throughout the first half, showcasing in-house compositions and arrangements. Particularly catchy were two traditional Ghanaian street tunes led by James Sills; he had me tapping a groove as the trumpets called and the cowbells rang.

The second half saw some great solos in ‘Triple Dance’ (Holland). Mention must go to Tim Twomey whose baritone saxophone solo utilized the whole range of the slightly cumbersome instrument with fantastic flare, as did Rob Williams’s nimble fingers which skipped over the keys of the tenor sax. The next three pieces played by smaller ensembles were of more “serious” jazz. Although executed well, my attention wandered; I’m more of a groovy-jazz sort of gal. My appetite was almost satiated with upbeat finalé appropriately named ‘Upswing’, however the encore, a paraded repeat of the Ghanaian street music, topped it off.

Although not as jam-packed with funky tunes and grooves as I would have liked, this concert displayed a high level of talent. Enough to whet any jazzer’s palette.

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