Reviews

Read reviews from artists who have performed with us and audiences who have seen us in concert.


John Hellings

Over the years I’ve been acquainted with the Worcestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra, which must now be ten plus, I have seen WYJO encourage and nurture the musical education of a number of young people. Some have pursued a career in the music business, while others have enjoyed their music as an add-on to a busy career in some other field. What WYJO has done though in every case is given youngsters a confidence that they might not have had. Membership has given those young people the confidence to appear in public, rub shoulders with music professionals and also hone their ability to put in the necessary hard work to achieve a rather special skill. WYJO and Ian Hattersley should be proud of their achievements over the years and for maintaining an excellent and entertaining group of musicians who have the ability to play to a very high standard.

John Hellings
‘Jazz With John Hellings’, Sundays 8-10pm on BBC Hereford & Worcester, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Radio Shropshire and the iPlayer
September 2018

David Turner

My wife and I attended this concert purely for the music, not being related to band members in any way. I am 81 years of age, a jazz and swing fanatic since I was 14. I was buying 78’s of Goodman, The Dorseys, Basie, Herman and Miller. In those days I remember two of the record companies, Parlophone being one, used to issue one jazz or swing 78 per month. I have still got 78s by Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt and others.

Over the years I have attended many live big band performances including Kenton, Basie, Ellington ansd Buddy Rich, but seldom have I been so excited as I was this evening. I became very emotional because I was so aware that all these fine young musicians were carrying forward the music traditions that I grew up with. The furure of big band music seems to be very safe in their hands.

Thank you, Ian Hattersley for all the enthusiasm and sheer hard work that you put in. Some years ago I went to two or three rehearsals of your then big band in Finstall Village Hall and realised just what hard work it is to get something to work so very well.

Lastly, Trevor Emeny was terrific. I last saw him thirty years ago when I was President of Bromsgrove Lions Club and talked him into organising a big band concert by young musicians. This was in 1981 in the Dolphin Suite in Bromsgrove. He was a great guy and a fine musician then and tonight proved that he has just got better and better.

Thanks again to everybody responsible for this super concert but most especially to all those fine, talented and enthusiastic boys and girls that made up the two orchestras. You are all phenomenal!

David Turner
The Artrix Theatre
July 2011

Isidre Freixas

I have received your CD, and it is a pleasure for me to transmit my sincere congratulations for your superlative work and for the swing and enthusiastic job of the young and wonderful musicians of the band. I very much enjoyed listening to your music, plenty of swing! Ian, I hope in the near future to receive news of the second album of this great WORCESTERSHIRE YOUTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA. In my opinion this orchestra have splendid future, until the next. Best regards and congratulations from Spain.

Isidre Freixas
June 2011

Richard Mayhew

Please convey my great appreciation and thanks to WYJO members tonight. They were marvelous on Saturday, and I have received so many expressions of thanks and appreciation from people who attended our celebrations. Apart from their very obvious talents, people have remarked on the real pleasure that members showed as they played. The evening was a great success, but it was WYJO that made it so and for that we shall remain for ever grateful. Best wishes to all.

Richard Mayhew
March 2011

Melvyn Docker

Despite the rain on Sunday afternoon last, the audience in Priory Park, Malvern were given a good 2 hours of rousing big band/jazz music by WYJO. There was music well played, vocals well sung and action adding to the visual appeal of the afternoons show. The best of ‘Music in the Park’ performances I have seen/heard this year. I hope they will return next year. The CD on sale is also excellent - and my web purchase arrived promptly and in good condition.

Melvyn Docker
September 2010

Bruce Adams

Just to say how much I enjoyed the other night. I thought both bands played really well, and that you have a lot of talent there. Also the kids are really nice to work with

Bruce Adams
The Artrix Theatre
July 2010

Unknown

Great on stage performance at ‘Summer in the City.’ The young English people were able to demonstrate their versatility due to the varied selection of different genres chosen. Be it Jazz standards such as Duke Ellington’s ‘In a Mellow Tone’, ‘Lady be Good’ from the George Gershwin musical of the same name, or the old favourite ‘Quando, Quando’ by Englebert Humpadinck, the 24 young musicians from Worcester , England, offered a genre-spanning program of music, with their ‘Summer in the City’ concert on Sunday afternoon, which was highly enjoyed by a large crowd. The organisers, Eupen’s Cultural Office, were lucky for two reasons: The Worcester Youth Jazz Orchestra turned out to be a real find, due to the abilities of the talented, budding musicians, besides, the heavens did not open. The concert was performed on stage in the dry, except during ‘Singing in the Rain,’ throughout which numerous umbrellas were opening, as if on command. The organisers could not have hoped for better. The young people (aged between 16 and 22) were able to demonstrate their versatility due to the varied selection of different genres chosen. Swing, Blues, Latin, Reggae and even Funk were played side-by-side with Jazz standards. With a steady, powerful groove, but also playing together with discipline, they really went to town on the Klotzerbahn. In the course of their performance, they showed off some of their multitalented members: the soon-to-be 18 year old Joe played alto saxophone and sang some Frank Sinatra; Trombonist Lydia interpreted hits from musicals and was convincingly sassy at the front of the stage, as a Rock’n’roll interlude. Stephen, the baritone saxophone player, tap-danced like there was no tomorrow and earned great applause by moon-walking in the style of Michael Jackson. Only the presentation by Jim McKeane in English had greater entertainment value: the young man had evidently prepared himself well for Eupen, and greeted the crowd in ‘the Capital of German in Belgium.’

Under the direction of Ian Hattersly, the Orchestra, is made up of music students and students alike, who are almost universally trying to make careers as working musicians. At present, the band finds itself on tour in the Netherlands and in Germany. Eupen was scheduled as a detour via a contact of the best known local musician, Harald Mathie. It was incidentally the leaving concert for half of the musicians, before they carry on with their careers.

What was most characteristic was the enthusiasm, so that you could tell that they were still having fun playing music, even after the encore, which lasted more than half an hour. The Big Band ended with ‘New York, New York,’ to an uncontrollably enthusiastic crowd.

Unknown
The Grenz Echo
July 2009

Mrs X

I didn’t think I was going to like that, but I really enjoyed it

Mrs X
Hayling Island
October 2006

Bruce Adams

Truly inspirational

Bruce Adams
Pershore Jazz Festival
September 2006

Lorraine Beasley

I was very impressed, the performance was so professional

Lorraine Beasley
Swan Theatre
July 2006

Mark Nightingale

Working with WYJO was a tremendously positive experience. The band pulled out all the stops and really rose to the occasion for our concert at the Swan Theatre. WYJO is a credit to the county, and a great asset to current and future generations of young musicians in Worcestershire.

Mark Nightingale
International Trombonist
July 2006

Jill Hopkins

Playing big band jazz with enthusiasm and considerable expertise, the two dozen or so youthful musicians of WYJO under the direction of Ian Hatersley brought a breath of of fresh air to the lunchtime concert of Worcester Concert Club

Jill Hopkins
Worcester News
March 2006