CD REVIEW: Birmingham Jazz Orchestra cond. Jacky Naylor- Rough Boundaries

Birmingham Jazz Orchestra cond. Jacky Naylor- Rough Boundaries
(Available from Bandcamp. CD Review by Frank Griffith)

The Birmingham Jazz orchestra's second release, Rough Boundaries features the music of pianist, Jacky Naylor, and was recorded in April 2016 at Birmingham's venerable - and recently demolished - Adrian Boult Hall. The ensemble was founded in September 2014 and showcases the composing and improvising of musicians based in Birmingham and beyond. Their debut album Burns was composed under the leadership of their founder, trumpeter Sean Gibbs.

The contributions of several outstanding soloists like Tom Syson and Hugh Pascall on trumpets, trombonist Richard Foote, saxists Vitorrio Mura and Josh Schofield go a long way to "moving the music off the paper" - as the late Graham Collier liked to say - in fully exploring the art of jazz composition for large ensemble. The stellar rhythm section on board incudes David Ferris on piano, Stu Barker on bass, Jonathan Silk on drums and guitarist, Ben Lee, all of whom are peerless in their interpreting Naylor's music as well as demonstrating their own powerful and individual solo voices.

The band itself consists of graduates from the fine Birmingham Conservatoire jazz course, founded and stewarded since inception by trombonist, Jeremy Price,aided by a faculty cohort of other UK jazz stalwarts including pianist, Hans Koller and drummer Andrew Bain.

The whole effect of this CD is much greater than the sum of its parts. It contains five pieces that depict five cities that the composer visited over a period of fourteen months. Moscow, Bilbao, Stockholm, Marrakech and Reykjavik. His "Travellers Notes" provided on the CD cover give an effective, economical, and yet articulate sense of what inspired and motivated and formed the musical themes, colours and textures and journeys involved. One hears shades and echoes of Kenny Wheeler, Gil Evans and Maria Schnieder as well as the improvisatory flexibility of Graham Collier and Django Bates.

Well done, BJO, Jacky Naylor and the rich and promising voices that Birmingham has to offer.

The official launch gig is at Birmingham's Symphony Hall on 21 September followed by a visit to London's Vortex on 29 September. for more information.

LINK: Sebastian's Jazz Line-Up Feature about the Birmingham jazz scene

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