JWA Principal Saul Richardson will once again be adjudicating jazz ensembles (stage bands/big bands) at the 2012 Yamaha Festival. He is looking forward to hearing from a big range of groups and is anticipating some truly polished performances this year.
Here are a few tips from Saul for doing well.
Bands that do very well will demonstrate excellence in:
• Rhythm & style
• Improvisation in solos
• Rhythm section
• Musical expression
• Ensemble precision
The best bands always have sophisticated rhythm sections where the musicians can interpret their parts so they can engage in improvised “conversation” with soloists as well as playing important written figures. Soloists improvise rather than play written or memorised solos, and first class groups include soloists who have practised and studied improvisation.
A jazz ensemble is not just a small concert band playing jazzy repertoire. It is a specialised group interpreting unique and sophisticated repertoire in a quite distinct musical tradition. “Gold” standard bands demonstrate an understanding of this.