Two concerts for the price of one was the outcome of the RNCM Big Band concert night. O’ Higgins, Auguelles and Hall had not been together on the same stage for some 20 years, not since there student days. This was to become a big band reunion of both power and ability with Mike Hall conducting his student Big Band with Dave O’Higgins guesting in the first half and Julian Arguelles substituting in the second.
With the Big Band warming up to a Thad Jones number, Groove Merchant, followed by Lester Young’s, Tickle Toe, the band warmed to working with Dave on a further four outstanding numbers of his then finishing with Bob Mintzer’s aptly named, Big Show, another ex-guest of the Band on a previous outing.
Bob gave a strong lead and experience to the already able band of students. The challenge for Mike is in recreating this ever changing band from one year to the next and student come and go.
A very different game was played out in the second half with a William Russo’s number, 23 North/32 South, co-ordinates for Havana and some lively Latin jive. From Havana to Spanish flamenco with Julian’s, `You see, my dear’.
Julian gave a more avant-garde feel to the evening juxtaposing many shapes and colours to create an international feel to his music and the experience of the audience.
Future guests with the Big Band this season are to include, Steve Waterman, Anita Wardell and Andy Shepard.