National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland
Guitarist Mike Walker will join the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland on this three-date tour, which will feature a full performance of his long-awaited debut album, Madhouse & The Whole Thing Here, released earlier this year. It will be a welcome return to Scotland for the Salford-born guitarist, one of the most original jazz stylists in the country.
The invitation is a follow up to last year’s collaboration with guest saxophonist Mark Lockheart. Walker has worked with the NYJoS before, but you do have to go back a bit, to the more experimental period at the start of the decade when Simon Purcell and the Bancroft twins were taking the band in a direction that focused more on individual creativity than group cohesion.
It was a direction that did not ultimately find favour with Richard Chester, then the director of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (the NYJoS is an off-shoot). His concern was that the technical standard of the players did not match that achieved by their Classical equivalents, and subsequent changes were designed to address that issue.
The current directors, pianist Malcolm Edmonstone and drummer Andrew Bain, are both former members of the band, and have tried to nurture the conventional big band virtues while at the same time continuing to expand the band’s repertoire and encourage the presence of imaginative guests like Lockheart and Walker.
Perth Concert Hall, Fri 17 Jul; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 18 Jul; Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Sun 19 Jul