Stan Sulzmann‘s big band writing is replete with joyous countermelody, intricate detail and yet is always approachable and intensely worthwhile. Stan was one of Kenny Wheeler’s closest musical colleagues, and it is fascinating to observe how his work has such strong affinities with, but at the same time departs from the late Canadian-born master’s very personal language. Kenny Wheeler’s writing for big band has indelibly marked generations of musicians all over the world. By contrast, Stan’s big band writing, is under-represented in the public domain: there has, so far been just one CD of it, Birthdays, Birthdays (Village Life), released in 2000. (FURTHER READING)
To start to redress the balance, and to make this work available, Stan Sulzmann’s Neon Orchestra’s concert at the 606 Club on 6th March 2016 was filmed by Dan Redding, and a series of six videos will be released over the next few weeks. Stan’s own tune Chu Chu has just been released, as the first (above). The others – standards and pieces from Stan’s “extendable suite” of tunes by UK jazz musicians – will follow.
Stan Sulzmann said at the first concert of the Neon Orchestra’s series at Karamel that it was a family landmark for him: the first time he and son Matthew had gone out and done a gig together. This video captures that rarity, father-then-son solos, with a first solo from Stan Sulzmann on tenor saxophone, immediately followed by one from Matthew Sulzmann on alto.
Chu Chu (Stan Sulzmann)
Stan Sulzmann, Matthew Sulzmann, Robbie Harvey
Saxes: Martin Hathaway, Matthew Sulzmann (Altos), Josh Arcoleo, Pete Hurt (Tenors), James Allsopp (Bari/Bass Clarinet)
Trumpets: Tom Walsh, Henry Lowther, Noel Langley, James Copus
Trombones: Mark Nightingale, Gordon Campbell, Robbie Harvey, Sarah Williams
Rhythm: Alex Munk – Guitar , Ralph Wyld – Vibes, Kit Downes – Piano, Dave Whitford – Bass, Tim Giles – Drums
Nick Smart – Conductor
Stan Sulzmann – Soloist, Composer/Arranger
Jules Jackson – Recording and Mixing
Daniel Redding – Filming and Editing