Let me set the scene – the jazz sextet were intimately set up in a corner of the room, candlelit tables seated the students on the main floor and the stage had been converted into a raised seating area. The lights were low and the atmosphere thick, and everyone was treated to Friday night gig, lead by Issie Barratt, with each of the 15 students introducing the pieces they’d composed over the week. It was an incredible evening of live music, and the audience were as involved as the musicians, applauding and cheering for not only the student’s compositions, but for the electrifying solos that each musician took across the pieces.
It was incredible to see how the space had changed in the short time between the film groups performance only a half hour before! The pieces varied so much in terms of their character and charm, despite all involving incredibly intricate chordal progressions and harmonies; some focussed more on the drive of the rhythm section, featuring drum solos and bass-grooves, whereas others built upon the three-part brass section of trombone, alto saxophone, and trumpet. Let’s not forget the piano however, which sometimes doubled the bass lines to provide further drive to a piece, or lightly glided and dotted notes in the upper registers as the saxophone took a swinging solo.
These variations and alterations within the performances were all dictated by the creative decisions of the Summer School students and their gained knowledge from the weeklong journey they’ve been on. It was truly something to be in the room last night and experience their pieces first hand. Incredible.