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Royal Birmingham Conservatoire/ Siena Jazz-Accademia Nazionale Del Jazz Ensembles at the 2022 Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire/ Siena Jazz-Accademia Nazionale Del Jazz Ensembles

(Parabola Arts Centre – Cheltenham Jazz Festival. 30 April 2022. Review by Peter Slavid)

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RBC Group 1: Torin Davies, Iacopo Teolio, Joe Kessell, Dan Lockheart, Dom Johnson. Photo credit: John Watson/

One of the unique features of the Cheltenham Jazz festival is the annual collaboration between students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and groups of students from overseas. In the past this has involved Conservatoires in Norway and in France. This year the visiting students come from the Siena Jazz-Accademia Nazionale Del Jazz, with the addition of one student from Hamburg.

Groups are mixed between the two colleges. The students are put into three groups, given a day to work together and then each given 20 minutes to perform, first in Birmingham on the Friday, and then here at Cheltenham on the Saturday morning. It was interesting that all three groups had guitars, but only one pianist. And it was slightly disappointing to see that it was an all male line-up.

It is worth saying that the limited rehearsal time didn’t show at all, and that all three groups would grace any jazz club right now. Many students from earlier versions of the project have turned out to be highly successful and well known names. After the event there’s always chatter in the audience trying to predict who will emerge from this batch of students.

All three groups played a mixture of bebop and post-bop, with an occasional retro flourish. The quality of the musicianship was (as usual) extremely high. Everyone had their chances to solo, and they all took them well.

This sort of cross-border collaboration has become more difficult these days with Brexit and Covid, but we should do everything possible to make sure they continue.

The groups aren’t named – just given numbers. The musicians listed below are from Birmingham except where otherwise identified.

Group 1

Iacopo Teolio tpt Siena

Dan Lockheart tenor sax

Torin Davies gtr

Joe Kessell bass

Dom Johnson drums

Group 2

Zak Demou tpt

Lorenzo Simoni alto sax Siena

Guillermo Santimone pno Siena

Ben Love bass

Aidan Amann drums

Group 3

Oscar Lawrence alto sax

Dave Bustos tenor sax

Lucas Echeverria gtr Hamburg

Francesco Tino electric bass Siena

Andrew Duncan drums

Peter Slavid broadcasts a programme of European Jazz on and various internet stations

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