Review: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra – Jazz Toons & Screen Classics

Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Jazz Toons & Screen Classics, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, Sunday October 27th ***

Heeding the publicity’s suggestion to bring the offspring to Sunday evening’s concert by the SNJO turned out, fairly early on, to be another yet example for the ‘Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time’ chapter of the parenting memoirs. After all, a programme of music from such family favourites ranging from classic cartoons to movie blockbusters played by a young, dynamic band sounded just the ticket for music-mad youngsters. And indeed, when SNJO director Tommy Smith announced the titles featured in the opening medley, it was the nine-year-old critical support team beside me whose “yaaaaas!” turned heads at the mention of Superman.

The main problem was the arrangements: if you didn’t warm to Pino Jodice’s reworkings of the tunes then you’d pretty much had it for the evening, as he was responsible for most of them. The most enjoyable numbers were the ones in which the melody didn’t get swamped by the arrangement, and which stayed closest to the original versions –  Mahna Mahna, from The Muppets (complete with hilarious Animal impersonation by drummer Alyn Cosker), The Flintstones and, especially, the Star Trek Theme.

That last-mentioned featured the dazzling vocals of guest star Jacqui Dankworth and went down so well that it was repeated as an encore later, after a glorious Somewhere Over the Rainbow, one of only a handful of songs in which Dankworth’s sublime voice was showcased rather than seeming to be in competition with the overbearing arrangement being played by the band.

First published in The Scotsman, Tuesday October 29

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1 Comment

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One response to “Review: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra – Jazz Toons & Screen Classics

  1. kenwindsor

    Alison knows her jazz, – her reviews over the years are a testimony to her diverse knowledge of the genre. There always has to be an “angular” approach to a review and this is how she saw the show on the night. On the other hand the lady friend that I took to the performance does not like jazz, mainly due to the fact that she has rarely attended jazz events. She absolutely loved it ! It was the rich concert sound of a big band in a great venue combined with the sublime voice of Jacqui that made this a night to remember for her. The proof of the pudding has to be in the eating as they say and she is one lady that will return to another SNJO concert. Me – well at times I have to agree that the decision to present the arrangements of Pino alongside the more family orientated themes of the night was maybe a little too brave. However, who am I to talk, having been kicked out of my music class at school for being “tone deaf.”

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