The Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra
The Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra

The acclaimed Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra opened the 2024 Lichfield Jazz and Blues Festival when they played at the Cathedral Hotel.

With a line-up featuring some of the finest local young musicians, the ensemble led by conductor John Ruddick played a set that varied from blues, funk and jazz to heartfelt ballads that allowed for some inventive soloing.

With a strong rhythm section on drums, bass and keyboards, they played music that varied from In a Mellow Tone to a trumpet-led Body and Soul.

Without a Song was an expansive treatment, while the trombone solo during A Time For Love was both melodically interesting and technically well developed.

The more upbeat A Few Good Men allowed for the saxophones to come to the fore.

A closing medley of Henry Mancini tunes included Baby Elephant Walk, the familiar Peter Gunn and Pink Panther themes, and a solo piano feature during Moon River.

During the second half Magic Flea and the ballad I Can’t Believe You Are In Love With Me were both played, while a musical highlight was provided by Liam Brennan’s saxophone during Autumn in New York.

An interesting take on Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, taken at a brisk pace and a slightly altered harmony, closed the second half before Glenn Miller’s In The Mood lifted the pace and featured some fine ensemble and solo playing.

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