A great weekend for music

On Sunday, the three Alton College jazz groups kicked off this year's Town Gardens Summer Entertainments. First up was the Alton College Big Band who performed a selection from their vigorous repertoire - Manteca by Dizzie Gillespie, Moanin' by Charles Mingus and Chicago Shuffle by Scott Stroman.
The afternoon was rounded off by the Alton College Jazz Band. Every year, this ensemble transforms to highlight the particular skills of the musicians in the ensemble and this year was no exception. A Love Supreme - John Coltrane's masterwork, featured many soloists, but notably tenor saxophonist Charlie Yarrow, trombonist Ben Spoors and bass player Matthew Read. The band's set also featured two new works by members of the ensemble, Itsa Africa - written by Jess Holland for the forthcoming EIP Olympic event in Portsmouth in June - which features Jess on soprano saxophone, and Olli Martin's imaginative arrangement of Sack O'Woe, which featured a number of soloists from within the band, as well as Olli as trombone soloist.
The centrepiece of the afternoon was the Alton College Jazz Collective; a group of young musicians that work for three hours a week with saxophonist Sam Bullard towards an RSL Level 3 Extended Certificate in Jazz. This stylish band performed well-known standards as Fly Me To the Moon, Moonlight in Vermont and Joe Henderson's Recorderme.

Not just one, but TWO places in the National Youth Jazz Collective...

Last week, two members of the Alton College Jazz Collective, Olli Martin and Matthew Read, heard that they had been successful [via competitive audition] in gaining places in the National Youth Jazz Collective. This is a fantastic achievement as there are only 30 places available. Apart from the Royal Academy of Music's Saturday School and other junior conservatoires, Alton College is the highest state provider of young jazzers, described in NYJC's funding research as a 'significant' contributor.

Bright futures for music scholars

Four students have also been successful in gaining places on the Sound & Music summer school for composers. The four successful composers; Lucy Hale, Jess Holland, Patrick Ellis and Alex Ling will each get to work with an ensemble for whom they will create a piece to be performed at the end of the week's course.

Head of Music Martin Read said: "We are very proud of our student jazzers and composers. It is fantastic that they are recognised at a national level. We must be doing something right!"