'I Got Gershwin' by Ned Bennet
This was created by Ned Bennet, based on songs by George and Ira Gershwin. While the essence of the orginals remains, there's a huge amount of new writing here for the 20-piece ensemble, solo voice, SATB choir and community choir (parts specifically designed to be possible for anyone to be able sing). The result is a fabulous blend of exquisite choral and instrumental writing, while completely in the jazz genre too, where instrumental soloists have space to improvise, and the solo singer is accompanied by a responsive band. This is the live recording of the first performance in the Colston Hall, at the Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival in March 2014, conducted by David Ogden, with soloist Jacqui Dankworth, the Big Buzzard Big Band, the City of Bristol Choir and Exultate Singers, the North Bristol Well Being Choir and the Ashburton Community Choir.
'Cartoon Jazz' by Ned Bennet, Andy Williamson and Mick Foster
For the 2015 Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival, we wanted to create something that would appeal to a wide audience, from children and families to the most hard-bitten jazz afficionado! A tall order perhaps, but we achieved this using some perennially favourite songs from well-known cartoon feature films, but adding a significant amount of original jazz-style instrumental and vocal material. For this first performance we created the new Bristol Jazz Festival Chorus. On the day this was 350 voices, which included 120 singers from the Bristol Youth Choir and two primary schools, plus the North and South Bristol Well Being Choirs, and three other Community Choirs. The band features some of the UK's top jazz talent, including soloist Celestine Walcott-Gordon, pianist Liam Noble, Jonny Bruce on trumpet and Mick Foster on baritone sax. Here are two of the numbers, "I Wanna Be Like You" (arr. Ned Bennet) and "Let It Go" (arr. Andy Williamson).
There's a long instrumental introduction here, (below) starting with great sax solo from Ben Waghorn, then Ben Cummings on Trumpet. Al Swainger and Charlie Stratford then take over with some free improvisation on electric bass plus effects and drums respectively. Pete Kershaw then introduces the song with a familiar melody on electric guitar.