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Cardiff University Big Band travels north

Cardiff University Big BandThe Cardiff University Big Band travelled to Sunderland at the weekend to compete in the Senior Section of the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival.

This follows the Big Band’s success in last year’s National Concert Band Festival, receiving a Gold Award at the Regional Final in Monmouth and a Silver Award at the National Final in Glasgow.

Bands at this Festival each had to perform a 20-minute programme of music and were adjudicated by Paul Jones, lead Alto Saxophone of the BBC Big Band.

The Big Band’s programme opened with Sammy Nestico's 'The Blues Machine' which featured Graham Payne on piano, Georgina Hastings on alto saxophone and Jack Lewis on trombone. Following this was a rendition of 'My Way' from vocalist, Omar Kama and set ended with a performance of Gordon Goodwin's 'Count Bubba', featuring each section in turn as well as solos from Callum Mitchell on alto saxophone and Tim Mansfield on trombone.

Jeremy Meddows-Taylor, the band’s Musical Director, said: "I was so proud of the band on Saturday. They played to an incredibly high standard and were a real credit to themselves and the University. We received great feedback from both adjudicators and the large audience in Sunderland. It was a fantastic festival to be a part of and I'd like to send our thanks to Bill Watson and his team of organisers for a great weekend of Big Band music. I'd also like to send our congratulations to the winning band from Durham University."

Comments from adjudicator Paul Jones included: “Lovely alto solo played with a very pure tone. Well done saxes – good intonation and precise execution of a tricky saxophone soli” (The Blues Machine); “What a polished performance…excellent vocal!” (My Way); and “I would have never expected that a band of this size could possibly play this tightly together. Fabulous lead alto player!” (Count Bubba).

Videos of the performance will soon be available on YouTube and a link will be posted on the Band's Facebook page.

The Big Band is one of many ensembles that form the Cardiff University Jazz Society and its members are drawn from the School of Music, as well as a range of other Schools at the University. The Jazz Society offers students the opportunity to form and play in a range of groups and bands, with the current selection including the Big Band, a jazz orchestra, a jazz choir, a saxophone ensemble, and a vocal trio.

Having built up a solid reputation over the last year in South Wales, the Big Band will also be performing this April in the Lord Mayor’s Charity Gala Concert at BBC Hoddinott Hall.