Compact Disc (Audio)
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She Said is the culmination of a year-long programme at NYJO to remix the gender balance in jazz. Through newly-commissioned music, live performance, research projects and support for emerging musicians, the project has expanded the number of works by female composers in NYJO's repertoire and championed female role models. Our intention was to feature artists whose distinctive voices can be transcribed into compositions for large ensemble and to reach into the history of women's contributions to jazz, shedding light on how the roots of this music nourish current innovation and creativity. The project features four composers who have created a personal space in today's musical landscape, and whose musical spirit is fortified and enhanced, rather than diluted, by the big band setting. Laura Jurd, Issie Barratt, Nikki Iles and Yazz Ahmed were given an open brief: to compose freely, drawing on their imagination and particular circumstances. The resulting works are 'The Earth Keeps Spinning', 'You Do?!', 'Wild Oak' and 'Nurrquss'. Around these new works, NYJO Artistic Director Mark Armstrong built a programme that provided musical contrast and a flavour of traditional big band music. Beginning with Lil Hardin in the 1920s, the programme emphasises the quality and relevance of female composers' output in the first decades of jazz. It also honours female arrangers and lyricists, featuring widely known jazz standards such as 'Willow Weep for Me' and the heart-stopping lyrics and delivery of Norma Winstone. It is a genuine tribute to NYJO's work and reputation that peerless guest artists such as Norma Winstone, Yazz Ahmed, Nikki Iles and Josephine Davies appear alongside our young musicians, performing their own compositions, and that Georgina Jackson and Shirley Smart bring such character to the tracks they feature on. She Said was recorded around the 55th anniversary of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and it takes risks. Musicians from our younger training groups play amongst the emerging professionals of NYJO, who in turn sit alongside some of the great female artists of our day. Together, they have recorded music that embraces a myriad of nuanced expression, in orchestrations that create powerful stories and heighten the collaborative way musicians pull together and listen. She Said gives space to female artists in the hope that there should be no need for such projects in coming years, diversity bringing inspiration, innovation and thrill to the music world and our society.
- Wild Oak (feat. Nikki Iles)
- Struttin' With Some Barbecue
- A Timeless Place (feat. Norma Winstone)
- Willow Weep For Me
- The Earth Keeps Spinning
- Remind Me (feat. Georgina Jackson)
- Transition (feat. Josephine Davies)
- Nurrquss (feat. Yazz Ahmed, Nikki Iles, and Shirley Smart)
- Celeste (feat. Norma Winstone)
- You Do?!
- God Bless the Child (feat. NYJO Academy)
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