On the 19th of March, myself and the others in my Jazz Improvisation III class at Napier University got the opportunity to perform live at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh as part of Resonate: Jazz. Several weeks previously, our lecturer Haftor Medbøe (Website | Twitter) was asked if he could put something together in support of a performance by the Edinburgh Schools Jazz Orchestra (ESJO) and asked us if we would like to participate.
Having attended the Queen’s Hall in the past, I jumped at the chance to perform there, as it’s a great room and can have a really good atmosphere. As a result, over the following weeks we worked on getting a few pieces together for it, which ended up being A Night In Tunisia, Cantaloupe Island, and our own version of Prince’s Purple Rain.
There was a really good turnout to support the event on the night, with the night being started by Haftor accompanying two different singers on The Girl From Ipanema, then Misty before we took to the stage. Sadly, I got off to a bit of a confusing start as Haftor was using the same DI box that I had plugged into during our soundcheck, so by the time our set started, my lead hadn’t been plugged back in. After a minute or so of trying to figure out what was wrong, then re-adjusting levels in my monitor, I joined in with the rest of the ensemble and the rest of the performance went really well. Much better than I had initially anticipated.
I had a solo during Purple Rain and my memory was that it went fine. It took a little bit of time for me to settle into the groove and get comfortable. As far as I know, the Masters students in Sound at Napier recorded the entire concert, so I may be able to obtain a copy of this to listen back and perhaps put it in the audio section of the site in the future.
Here are some pictures taken by Haftor during soundcheck. Sadly the Queen’s Hall do not permit photography during performances.
The musicians involved in the ensemble were:
Andrew McLean – Trumpet
Gaynor Barradell – Tenor Saxophone/Flute
Stephen Maxwell – Guitar
Isard Aguilo – Guitar
Dawn Coulshed – Piano
Alasdair McLachlan – Bass
Robin MacLennan – Drums
Big thanks go out to Ally for stepping in on the night. Our Jazz III class is without a bass player, so he was kind enough to offer his services for the day which were greatly appreciated. You can find him here (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
After our set, and following the interval (and beer bought by Haftor) we watched the ESJO perform. I was surprised by the skill level on display, particularly as many of them were very young. I was really pleased that school children are getting the opportunity to play in jazz orchestras such as ESJO and I hope it can continue for a long time.