Alton College Jazz bands played at the Swanage Jazz festival this summer to large crowds. There were some notable solos and an appreciative audience. The event was the last opportunity the group have to play together until the Christmas reunion.
On a beautifully sunny Saturday in July, three jazz bands from the College - the Big Band, The Jazz Factory and the Alton College Jazz Band, travelled down to Swanage for the town's 21st Annual Jazz Festival where they played at the Old Stone Quay - right on the sea front.
First up were the Big Band - who played through their usual set of music by Lee Morgan, Charles Mingus, Marcus Millar and Chick Corea whilst also tackling quite a gusty wind.
Perhaps the highlight of their set was Paul Stevenson's No. VI - with the addition of a couple of trumpets this piece really kicked, and Chick Corea's Spain - with some fantastic solos from current students Brad Darnell Hayes, Rob Cliff, and 'old boys' Laura Jurd and Claire Colbran.
A little sophistication was added during The Jazz Factory's set, with some excellent soloing from James Golborn, Conor Chaplin and Anna Longhorn on a number of jazz standards, before the ACJB took to the stage to round off over 200 minutes of playing.
The ACJB treated the audience to this academic years' grand project - Charles Mingus' monster work 'Epitaph', which played at over thirty minutes with some fine solos from Ieuan Williams, Brad Darnell Hayes, Talie Burkitt Jones and Hannah Dilkes. Other works included Jaco Pastorius' Liberty City, Peter Churchill's Dishwasher and Steve Wonder's Sir Duke - which left the audience wildly applauding for more.
Last year in Swanage, due to torrential rain, the college bands were kindly accommodated in the White Swan Inn. To say thank you, after completing their sets on the Old Stone Quay this year, the three bands adjourned to a packed garden at the White Swan, where they gave a monster performance of Chick Corea's Spain.
This was the last time that these three bands will play with this membership - until the Christmas reunion gig, as many players have now left Alton College to progress to Music College, University, gap year or jobs. So whilst the whole day was fantastic fun, it was also tinged with a little sadness.
See Swanage Jazz Festival website for more photos