Here to Swing!"
Prom 21 Sat 31st July 2004, 10pm
drum breaks, dazzling solos and queues all the way from the Royal
Albert Hall down to Queen's Gate. It had to be Wynton Marsalis and
the Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra. One of the most eagerly awaited
Proms of the season, Saturday's late night affair was buzzing before
the band even hit the stage.
and the LJCO played to a packed Royal Albert Hall with a two-hour
set including old favourites and a handful of more recent collaborations.
First up was "Evolution of the groove", penned by Marsalis
and LCJO drummer Herlin Riley - a five-movement arrangement with
the reed section juggling soprano saxes, altos and clarinets. Riley's
influence was easily detectable with Marsalis warning the audience
"You'll know it's the fifth movement when the tambourine comes
out!" Sure enough high hats and kicks gave way to one man and
his tambourine, bringing the percussive evolution to a rapturous
Shearing's "Lullaby of Birdland" brought the tempo down
a little with the honeyed tones of jazz vocalist Jennifer Sanon
onboard. Other highlights included Ted Nash's (LCJO, saxophone)
collaboration with the LCJO entitled "La espada de la noche",
and a modern touch with "Rambling". La espada began in
a reflective mood only to burst into a rush of flamenco and jazz,
whilst Rambling took on a contemporary angle with Eric Lewis plucking,
scratching and drumming the inside of his piano.
evening ended on a smooth note with "Symphonette" - the
third movement of Duke Ellington's opus "Black, Brown and Beige".
As temperatures rose, it became clear that air-conditioning had
eluded the venue's recent revamp, but who cares if you sweat while
you're swinging to Marsalis.