of discs
Stock Status (?)
In Stock
Delivery Estimate
2-5 days
Jazz, Big Band
Whirlwind Recordings
November 13, 2015

Format: Compact Disc



(Free delivery & returns within the UK)


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'NYJO FIFTY' celebrates the 50th anniversary of a British institution, The National Youth Jazz Orchestra. The album reflects the wide range in repertoire, style and musical colours for which NYJO has become known, with a look at new repertoire and some of the band's past favourites to celebrate 50 years as the UK's premier youth big band.

A double-disc album, the band's contemporary material makes up Disc 1 with more traditional material on Disc 2. The album features special guest soloists in Mark Nightingale (trombone) and Gareth Lockrane (flute). Mark's "He's Just My Bill" has been a stalwart, and as yet unrecorded, selection in NYJO's live concerts for many years. Gareth is featured on the Yellowjackets' number "Rush Hour". The album also features saxophonist Julian Siegel and his "Mama Badgers", while guest pianist Zoe Rahman's "Red Squirrel" gets a reworking from its original piano-trio version into a full-scale big band arrangement by NYJO Artistic & Music Director Mark Armstrong.

Since 2010 NYJO has commissioned new music from leading UK jazz composers. Some of this was featured on their 2012 release The Change and this time includes "Wintermute" by Kit Downes, "No Man Is An Island" by Laura Jurd and "Sub Hub Hubbub" by Jason Yarde. The album also remembers the great Stan Tracey in ex-NYJO pianist Steve Melling's arrangement of "Ballad for Loos", taken from Stan's final release The Flying Pig.

NYJO is one of Britain's longest-running ensembles for young people under 25 playing big-band jazz. Founded by Bill Ashton OBE in 1965, the orchestra offered aspiring young musicians the opportunity to rehearse, write and gain experience in live performance at a time when UK jazz education was in its infancy. NYJO features 23 musicians and vocalists from around the country, most of whom go on to become professional musicians. Alumni include Guy Barker, Mark Nightingale, Gerard Presencer, Pete Long, Dennis and Winston Rollins and Amy Winehouse.

Press Quotes

"(4 stars) It takes only two tracks of this celebratory double album to establish the breadth, maturity and technical excellence of this long-established proving ground of UK jazz talent...the band intersperses fresh-minted arrangements with back-catalogue favourites and full-on blare with gentle balladry and contemporary funk"

Financial Times

"(4 stars) This youthful orchestra can pack a punch as devastating as any big band anywhere...A splendid affair with excellent performances all round."

Jazz Journal

"(4 stars) A milestone...These are todays players, equally good at both genres (contemporary and swing) and raring to go."


"A fine big band album in its own right and a fitting way to commemorate their 50th anniversary NYJO FIFTY offers two CDs of real quality."

Telegraph (Best Jazz Albums of 2015)

"There has been a lot of excellent UK big band music this year...This one is a fine addition to the pile: you get a lot of music for your money - 19 tracks in well over two hours - and it's music of the very highest quality."


"It's immaculately played and full of gems - not least the solos of rising guitar star Rob Luft."

The Guardian

"A gem! Surely the big band album of the year!"

Bebop Spoken Here

"There's certainly no shortage of precocious talent among the soloists and ensemble."

The Sunday Times

"NYJO, as it is more commonly known, is 50 years old, and is in exceptionally good health, as this double CD, recorded in the studio, shows."

The Jazz Breakfast

"A fine celebration of an institution that has done so much for jazz education in this country."

The Jazz Mann

"An impressive package."

Hi-Fi News & Record

"A program of varied arrangements reflecting trends in both historical and contemporary large ensemble jazz bands."

Nouveau Flux Music


More Info

Key Value
Catalogue number WR4679
Barcode 5052442006145
Number of items 2
Packaging type Digipak
Imported No
Weight 106g
Dimensions (LxWxH) 140mm x 7mm x 125mm