REPORT: Royal Academy of Music Junior Jazz Department End-of-Year Concert at Pizza Exress Dean Street

Band 1 Directed by Gareth Lockrane
Photo credit: Patricia Pascal-jazznewblood.org

Sebastian reports from the end-year concert by the Junior Jazz Department of the Royal Academy of Music on Saturday 8 July the Pizza Express in Dean Street:

The head of the department Gareth Lockrane directed the first and the third bands, and had devised a two-and-a-half hour programme which came in at exactly on time and at the right length. Simon Colam directed the second band. There was a major contribution from guitar legend Jim Mullen, he had been working with the students, and there was a delightful moment when he took charge of a five-guitar performance of Tune Up, gently running the show and providing a wonderfully fleet and discreet walking bass line. He was also to be heard accompanying singer Gigi Williams with astonishing gentleness and subtlety, another highlight. To hear Jim Mullen returned from illness in such totally commanding form was a life-affirming experience.

Massed guitars with Jim Mullen
Photo credit: Patricia Pascal-jazznewblood.org

Another highlight for me was the ensemble precision and the pristine quality of sound which Lockrane elicited from  Band 3 in their opening number Whatcha Talkin’ by Thad Jones. Phenomenal.

We have written before about the scale of the achievement of the Junior Jazz Department, notably in its tenth anniversary concert in 2014. (REPORT). Since then, JD alumnus Jacob Collier has gone on to tour the world and pick up two Grammys, Current JD student Alex Ridout has won BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year, a competition in which more than half of the finalists have come from the JD. It was casually mentioned that the Department”s President Dave Holland pops in when he can to help out, as did Kenny Wheeler in his time in the same role.


Featured soloist: Jim Mullen – guitar

Gareth Lockrane/Simon Colam – arrangements/combo leaders etc


Alexandra Ridout / Laurence Wilkins – tpts
Nick Willsher – alto
Asha Parkinson – Tenor
Dan Higham – tbn
Gigi Williams – voice
Peter Wilson/Miles Mindlin – gtrs
Noah Stoneman – Piano
Seth Tackaberry – bass
Zoe Pascal – drums

Gigi Williams and Jim Mullen
Photo credit: Patricia Pascal-jazznewblood.org


1, Spare Change (Mullen)
2, Outeractive (Mullen)
3, Rule of Thumb (Mullen)
4, You’ve got it bad and that ain’t good (Duke Ellington)
5, Train Song (comp/arr by Nick Willsher)
6, You’ve got it bad girl (Stevie Wonder)

Members of Band 2
Photo credit: Patricia Pascal-jazznewblood.org


Luke Montgomery/Jack Williams/Alex Kingston/Tom Waters – altos
Henry Walcott – tenor
Ife Ogunjobi – Tpt
Hadyn Davies – Piano
Tara Cunningham – gtr
Sawyer Adler – bass
Dylan Addison-Dunne/Jack Thomas – drums


1, Straight Street (John Coltrane)
2, Tango Mephisto (comp/arr Tim Garland)
3, Speed of Sound (Mullen)
4, The Procrastinator (Lee Morgan)
5, Fast Track (comp/arr Dave Holland)


Jim Mullen/Miles Mindlin/Peter Wilson/Tara Cunningham/Rosie Taylor

Tune up (Eddie Cleanhead Vinson/Miles Davis)

Members of Band 3
Photo credit: Patricia Pascal-jazznewblood.org


Brinley Heywood/Finn Bradley – tpts
Matthew Cook/Theo Hayles – tenors
Sam Barnett/Harry Brown – altos
Rosie Taylor – gtr/vocals
Timur Pak – Piano
Dan Laurie – bass
Luke Tomlinson (guest)- drums


1, Whatcha Talkin’? (Thad Jones)
2, Lullaby (comp/arr by Rosie Taylor)
3, Medication (Mullen)
4, Smart Money (Mullen)
5, Joshua (Victor Feldman)
6, Back In the Day (Larry Goldings)

Categories: miscellaneous

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