26th Aug 2008
Leah Gough-Cooper’s Human Equivalent/N.Y. Jazz Orchestra of Scotland
26 August 2008
BARELY a week passes, it seems, without yet another teenage Scottish jazz musician being mentioned in dispatches, usually from a session in Edinburgh’s Jazz Bar, for having swinging and improvising credentials beyond his or her years. And if this concert is any guide, that happy situation looks set to continue.
The National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, heard here in both nonet and full company editions, continues to forge ahead, producing tight, professional ensemble work across a stylistic range incorporating big-band favourites and more adventurous pieces.
Among those making strong individual contributions were the Young Scottish Jazz Musicians 2007 and 2008 – respectively the bright, energetic Alan Benzie (piano) and the assured, thoughtful tenor saxophonist Joe Wright – although their successor could easily have been present on the bandstand, too.
Saxophonist Leah Gough-Cooper, from Dumfries, has already moved on from youth level to study at Berklee, where she’s developing not just her own lithe alto style but a fine line in idiosyncratic compositions, too. Her band are collectively alive to any time signature quirks or twists in the blues form and all solo with confidence and purpose, not least guitarist Ant Law, whose two-handed fretboard manoeuvres on the stylishly grooving Future Pop effected an almost uniform raising of audience eyebrows.