Cornwall Youth Jazz Orchestra in Boconnoc Church

Monday 11th March 2013

Cornwall Youth Jazz Orchestra in Boconnoc Church

Cornwall Youth Jazz Orchestra in Boconnoc Church: Friday March 8

Heritage means different things in different contexts. For Boconnoc Church, which was old when Charles 1 worshipped there during the English Civil War, it’s measured in hundreds of years. Cornwall Youth Jazz Orchestra (CYJO), however, has its musical traditions rooted in the great jazz bands of the 40’s. Nevertheless, on Friday night Boconnoc’s acoustics responded well to CYJO, and the sizable audience in the pews could hear every note with bell-like clarity. 

Cornwall Youth Jazz Orchestra is really two big bands, with CYJO2, playing in the first half of the concert, under Sarah McDonagh, having the younger players, and CYJO1, playing in the second half under Andy Bilham, the more experienced ones. 

The first requirement of a jazz orchestra is that it should swing. Both CYJOs’ rhythm sections laid down a driving beat, providing a solid foundation for ensemble playing and solos. 

In the first half there was some excellent ensemble playing, with saxes and brass providing a rich texture, and sax, trumpet and trombone solos from confident players Cathy McQuarrie, Alex Pace, Kyle Brooks and Adam Wilkin, as well as one delicate vocal from Beth Cheshire. 

In the second half the brass was light on trombones, sickness and divided loyalties having taken their toll (the somewhat younger Truro Cathedral apparently enjoying an important anniversary). However the trumpets made up for this, with exuberant ensemble playing, and extrovert solos on trumpet and flugelhorn from Nathan Fitzgerald, Robin Brown and Connor Maclean. The saxophones provided a rich sound, and the solos from Kathryn Nunn and Sarah Carbis were well received, as were the vocals from Tegan Pryce. Finally, mention should be made of the keyboard player in the second half, Morwenna Bilham, whose sparse style was reminiscent of Basie. 

These young players played well with confidence and energy; and were enjoying themselves - and so were we in the audience! 

The Boconnoc audience went home having been well entertained. This is a band to watch (or, rather, listen to). 


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