Jazz Night at the Tooting Tram!

Date: Monday 26th February 

The ambiance was set at Tooting Tram and Social for the much-anticipated debut of WMA Jazz Orchestra’s, directed by the talented Olly Blackman. As the lights dimmed (perhaps too much for some on stage!), an intimate jazz club setting was created. 

The evening commenced with Jazz 2b opening their set with Gil Evans’ “Las Vegas Tango.” Andrea, Josh, Oliver, and Caspian captivated the audience with their confident solos. It was time to get funky the band transitioning seamlessly into Eddie Harris’ “Cold Duck Time,” the suited and booted Francesco played an energetic trombone solo. The whole tune was complemented by the unwavering groove of the rhythm section (Gianluca, Liam and Jackie). George and Ira Gershwin’s “Lady Be Good” showcased Augustin’s blazing trombone solo, while Isabella, Mikel, Andrea, and Alban engaged in a spirited exchange of solos. Concluding their set with Steely Dan’s “Do It Again,” Matthew’s confident trumpet solo was a great way to bring their set to a close. 

Following suit, Jazz 2a graced the stage with Benny Golson’s classic “Killer Joe,” treating the audience to a memorable rendition. There was a great trumpet solo from Rory and the audience we treated to solos from the whole saxophone section. Well played Amy, Cecily, and Maya. In a deviation from the planned set list (!) we heard “Night Train”, which features in Back to the Future 1. It showcased the trumpet section’s brilliance, with Aidan, Ruby, and Joshua shining in the spotlight. Dylan’s intricate piano solo added even more flare. Next up was some classic swing with “Stompin At The Savoy,” featuring a standout solo from one of our tutors, Joe Mackley (that kid will go far!). Wrapping up their set with Stevie Wonder’s “I Can’t Help It,” It featured a stellar clarinet solo from one of the groups newest members, Rafi. 

As the evening progressed, Jazz 1 took centre stage, commencing their performance with Damian Cook’s evocative composition “Dawn.” Jazz 1 had had the pleasure of working with Damian for their recent London Jazz Festival performance. Tomas led the ensemble with finesse, while Bruce, Amaia, Isaac, and all played great solos. Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” was next on the set list. A fiendishly difficult post bop chart which the band played with aplomb.  Milo’s solo earning a well-deserved shoutout. The mood changed as the mellifluous tones of the band came through on “Boplicity,” A special mention for Emily’s bari sax solo and Dylan on trumpet. 

Next up was Charles Mingus’ poignant tribute “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” paying homage to saxophonist Lester Young. “Airegin” featured Leo’s captivating solo, while “Wakened Jazz Yelp,” another Damian Cook masterpiece, showcased Orion’s virtuosic guitar performance and Naum’s melodic trombone solo. “Amen Brother” paid homage to Drum and Bass enthusiasts, with energetic improvisations from Jed and Ollie.  

“Sweet Georgia Brown” featured a mesmerizing piano performance by Liberty. The whole band were on top form for this tune, and it was a perfect end to an amazing evening of music making. Well done to all the children involved.   Special thanks to Olly, Joe, Dave, and Andrew for their hard work and guidance, as well as Liam for sound and Frazier for running the bar. 

The orchestra’s will return to Tooting Tram and Social on 1st July. In the meantime there is eager anticipation for band name suggestions. Answers on a postcard please !