Big Band in a Day
Back in April I was lucky enough to be chosen to play in a Big Band at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, as a support act for the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra through the scheme ‘Big Band in a Day’.
Last Sunday at midday, 13 of us, aged 13 to 18, arrived having never met before and were taken to get started – it was a battle getting my double bass up the tiny staircase to the practice room! We all set up our instruments and introduced ourselves as our two instructors, Mark and Jim, gave us our music. In four hours we not only learned about the basis of Jazz rhythm and groove as well as its origin, but also prepared two pieces for the show in the evening; one from music, and one from ear. Being in the rhythm section meant learning all of the chord sequences.
At about 16:00 it was time for the main band’s sound check and warm up, so we had the privilege of having our dinner in front of a private live show. We could then all relax and chat for a bit, while admiring our instructors at work. The show was sold out so when we went on it was terrifying at first, but after Mark introduced us and we started the first piece, Moten Swing, we were off. Our second one, Cantaloupe Island (one of my favourite pieces), went really well too.
It was a great experience to be able to play on such an iconic stage and I would definitely recommend the experience to any other young people interested in Jazz.
By Amy Coates, Year V.