Monday, 6 September 2010



Friday saw Ben and me at St. Mary’s Church, Broughton Street, Edinburgh for the 20th Anniversary Reunion Concert of the Edinburgh Schools Jazz Orchestra. Ten years ago, Ben was a member of ESJO, when it was sponsored by Lothian Regional Council. This was a good arrangement because it meant that pupils from East, Mid and West Lothian could join their big city peers to make some very good music. My job at the time was to make sure I didn’t say anything embarrassing (teenagers!) and do the taxi driving. I got to know Jim O’Malley who started the band and later Dan Hallam, who became a good friend. ESJO started off my love of jazz and it has continued ever since.

The concert on Friday was very good. It started off with the current members of ESJO with some former members and special guests, conducted by Dan and they played a super set of numbers. This young group of musicians were tight, together, loud and quiet when they needed to be. There were some stunning solo slots. The second part of the first half was taken by combo’s of ex-ESJO players who have formed groups and continued to play and we were entertained to some great original jazz. The second half comprised a performance by the ESJO professional band, made up of former members who have gone on to make a career in music. They were directed by the famous Ozzy trombone player Chris Greive. The music was of the very highest order and left us all shouting for more.

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