The National Youth Jazz Orchestra
The National Youth Jazz Orchestra is one of Britain’s longest running and most successful ensembles for young people under 25 playing big band jazz, offering a unique learning experience combining professional training with artistic expression.
Founder Bill Ashton OBE began NYJO in 1965, offering aspiring young musicians the opportunity to rehearse, write and gain experience in prestigious live performance at home and aboard, at a time when UK jazz education was in its infancy. Since then the orchestra and its junior editions, NYJO 2 and NYJO London, have met to rehearse almost every Saturday morning to deliver a creatively challenging experience within an informal environment.
NYJO features 22 musicians and vocalists from around the country, most of whom go on to become professional musicians. Alumni include Guy Barker, Mark Nightingale, Gerard Presencer, Pete Long, Dennis and Winston Rollins and Amy Winehouse, which gives an idea why Sir John Dankworth is famously quoted as describing NYJO as one of the best bands you will ever hear.
The culture of encouraging members to write their own arrangements and compositions has created a phenomenal musical legacy which in addition to classic big band standards, gives the band an incredible pad to draw from and which has contributed to over 40 recordings to date.
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