The Art of Nigel Waddington
Music for Big Band, Orchestra and Soloists
London-based arranger Nigel Waddington presents original works and arrangements, all featuring some top British jazz names such as Claire Martin, John Horier, Jaqui Hicks and many others. Using the resources of everything from a solo piano to full big band with added orchestral strings and winds, Nigel produces a fascinating array of sounds and tone-colours, in tracks ranging from impressionistic ballads to full-ahead funk.
Here's some captivating new big band/orchestral music, arranged and crafted - and mostly composed - by the exquisite and finely-honed pen 'n ear of Nigel Waddington. Where Has He Been? If in the woodshed as I surmise, then it's time he was out and about. - Mike Gibbs
Saxophones and Woodwinds - Nick Homes, Len Aruliah, Rachel Musson, Rob Hughes, Colin Crawley, Mick Foster, Jay Craig
Flutes/Piccolo - Roland Sutherland, Katy Gainham Oboe/Cor Anglais - Althea Talbot-Howard, Chris Redgate
Clarinets - Pete Furniss, Jon Carnac Bassoons - Sarah Price, Glyn Williams
Trumpets - Steve ]ones, Paul Newton, Steve Waterman, Pete Rolinson, Martin Shaw, Mike Diprose, Nigel Waddington
Trombones - Richard Pywell, Paul Taylor, Adrian Fry, Mark Horton, Holly Bull, Jeff Miller
French Horns - Anneke Scott, Herrick Hayes, Rachel Martin, Emma Knight
Bass - Gareth Huw Davies Piano/Keyboards - Rob Taggart, Phil Peskett, John Horler, David Frankel
Guitars - John Blackwell, Gerry Hunt Drums - Chris Dagley, Brent Keefe Harp - Hugh Webb
Backing Vocals - Jacqui Hicks, Daniel D. Winton
Violins - Vaughan Jones (leader), David Bearman, Maya Bickel, Richard Blayden, Nell Catchpole, Antonia Fuchs, Laura Haarala, Gita Langley, Emma Martin, Gabriel Painter, Margot Rusmanis, Susan Verney
Violas - Reiad Chibah, Mark Coates-Smith, Nina Kopparhead, Rachel Robson
Cellos - Anna Holmes, Emma Black, Zoe Martlew, Anna Mowatt Double Bass - Gareth Huw Davies
1. You Got It BARRY FINNERTY 4:45
Soloists: Rob Taggart keyboards, Chris Dagley drums, Steve Waterman trumpet, Greg Heath tenor saxophone
Barry Finnerty's barn-storming funk spree is given a driving Big Band treatment, demanding needle-sharp ensemble work. I liked the idea of adding strings to this piece to expand the impact as far as possible.
2. I Fly NICK HOMES 6:03
Soloists: Claire Martin vocals, Sam Mayne alto saxophone, Phil Peskett piano
I fell in love with Nick Homes's beautiful song as soon as I heard his wife Ana singing it on his album Collected Dreams. My arrangement uses some impressionistic orchestral effects in a jazz setting, both to extract a variety of tone colours from the ensemble and to provide a framework to throw the solos into relief.
3. Is This a Rainbow NIGEL WADDINGTON 5:28
Soloist: Sam Mayne alto saxophone
It certainly felt like it when I met my wife Sam, and this is for her. Stylistically, this piece has more in common with a soul ballad, but has been refitted for the Big Band idiom by using some much older, trusted arranging techniques.
4. Talking to Thomas NIGEL WADDINGTON 3:41
Soloist: David Frankel piano
My son Thomas was born on 8 February 2008. There was a lot I wanted to tell him before he could talk, so I thought, why wait?
5. Bigger Pictures NIGEL WADDINGTON 6:58
Soloists: Colin Crawley tenor saxophone, Dave Ital guitar
The colours of the jazz orchestra are often expanded by the use of mutes, flutes and clarinets, but I have always been interested in how far the colours can be expanded while remaining true to the idiom. What if double reeds and strings are added, or xylophone or harp? Would it still be a jazz orchestra, or some other creature?
This piece at least asks the question. John Dankworth observed that jazz is a language, not a style, and that like all languages it borrows from others. The same must be true of the ensembles we use to deliver it.
6. September NIGEL WADDINGTON 4:42
Soloists: Chris Redgate cor anglais, David Frankel piano
This piece began as a jazz ballad but has had various other lives, appearing in a brass quintet and in this recording as a notated study for cor anglais and piano. In all its manifestations, September tries to express the same thing: our ancient, embedded sense of change as we move away from the Sun on our tilted planetary axis. I can think of few other such primeval sensations as the first thrilling chill of autumn.
7. Jazz Chops, No Hang-Ups (an ode to Steely Dan) NIGEL WADDINGTON   6:03 Soloists: Jacqui Hicks vocals, John Blackwell guitar
This is an anthem to Steely Dan through the mind of an imaginary session singer, smitten by the songs of the super-group and dreaming of being signed up to join them on tour. How many ears have been opened up by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, smuggling the colours of jazz into the rock mainstream? Strings are used again in this piece to bring a new colour to a genre not usually associated with them.
This track was co-produced by Rob Taggart.
8. Lantern on the Stern (in memoriam Malcolm Arnold) NIGEL WADDINGTON 6:56
Soloists: Martin Shaw flugelhom, Rob Hughes tenor saxophone
The music of Malcolm Arnold first swept me up about a year before his death in 2006. He said music is a social act of communication, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is. This largely self-taught, prolific composer of nine symphonies left treasures which already outlive the forgotten critics who brought him such unhappiness. As a fellow trumpet player, I am particularly captivated by Arnold's writing for brass and his penchant for clear lines and pure colours.
9. James PAT METHENY 4:43
Soloists: Phil Peskett piano, Paul Taylor and Richard Pywell trombones
Pat Metheny's beautiful melody from his Offramp album, scored for two trombones, piano and big band, with key change trickery for sharp-eared listeners.
10. Like Someone in Love JOHNNY BURKE AND JIMMY VAN HEUSEN 4:11
Soloists: Claire Martin vocals, Julian Jackson harmonica
I have always loved this simple refrain, which is capable of so many instrumental treatments. Here I strive to bring a smoky panache to the song by contrasting the vocals and an impish harmonica solo with the large studio orchestra.
11. Tristesse Lili Boulanger NIGEL WADDINGTON 2:45
Soloist: John Horler piano
I have always been entranced by Boulanger's works. How many more might we have gained if she had lived beyond the age of 25? A piano improvisation in this short piece helps express the mystery of her brief, tumultuous life.
12. For Dave NIGEL WADDINGTON 4:51
Soloists: Steve Waterman flugelhom, Derek Watkins trumpet
This piece is a tribute to the fine lead trumpet player Dave Plews, whose loss was felt by so many of us in the London jazz and session scene. Derek Watkins and Steve Waterman pay their own homage to Dave on this recording.
All arrangements by Nigel Waddington
Total Time 61:06