St Thomas Big Band – Aquinas College April 10th 2011

St Thomas Big Band Trumpet Section

St Thomas Big Band

On Sunday the 10th of April the St Thomas Big Band performed as a part of the entertainment lineup for the Aquinas College Fete. The St Thomas Big Band has strong ties to the Western Australia Catholic Boy’s School with all of its members having attended and graduated from the College between the years of 1997 and 2010.

The St Thomas Big Band performed two 45 minute sets commencing at 12:00pm outside the newly opened Br Paull multi-purpose complex. This time slot was considered to be the premium position of the day with many parents of current students, families and friends of the College gathering to eat their lunch on the provided tables and chairs nearby.

Patrick van der Moezel

Patrick van der Moezel

The band opened their set with an arrangement of “Chameleon”, a funk tune written by Herbie Hancock and recorded on the Headhunters album, which has been regularly performed by various Aquinas College over the past 20 years. This instrumental tune featured a Patrick van der Moezel (tenor), David Tran (alto) and Simon Montgomery (baritone).

The latin rock tune “Mambo Italiano” was the second song performed in the first set. For this song the band was joined by Ben Hall, the band’s vocalist. This energy created with this songs rhythmic backing lines and counter melodies from the trumpets and saxes when combined with the driving bass line played by the bass and trombone section kept the crowd entertained and tapping their toes to the beat.

The band performed another instrumental number at the conclusion of “Mambo Italiano”. “Summertime”, a traditional jazz standard originally written for the musical “Porgy and Bess” by Gershwin featured the trumpet section of St Thomas. The melody was performed, in part, as a solo by Michael Evans with counter melody lines occurring in the saxophone section. The saxophone section is featured in a high energy saxophone soli before Michael was featured in the solo section. At the conclusion of the solo the band performed a full ensemble soli before the melody was again presented by the trumpet section.

Ben Hall rejoined the band for the final two songs for the first set, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “I’m a Believer”. These two tunes showcased the versatility of Ben as a singer and entertainer. Ben’s interpretation of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” was reminiscent of the jazz crooners from years gone by including Sinatra and Martin and in more recent times Buble. Moving from this into the rock tune “I’m a Believer” Ben entertained the crowd demonstrating incredible support and energy throughout the number. This was supported by a band performing at a high intensity building continuously towards the conclusion of the song and with it the first set.

After a short ten minute break the St Thomas big band commenced their second set with the song “The Chicken”. This funk tune, written by Jaco Pastorius, featured the bass, tenor saxophone and first trombone in an opening New Orleans Soul introduction before the band broke into the well known and loved melody of the tune. The energy was kept up throughout the entire solo section with Steve Connaughton featured on drums throughout an ensemble soli section leading into a tenor saxophone solo by Patrick van der Moezel. Simon Montgomery was featrued on the baritone saxophone with a solo followed by a chorus drums solo by Steve Connaughton.


Gavin Andrews - Jazz Pianist

Gavin Andrews

Ben Hall rejoined the band for the next two song performing the jazz standard “Have you Met Miss Jones” followed by “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps”, a latin tune. The swinging arrangement of “Have You Met Miss Jones” featured the saxophone section in a soli before Gavin Andrews (piano) took an extended solo. Before Ben brought the melody back in he took a vocal scat solo over the entire form. The arrangement of “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” lends itself to be a traditional Tango in its feel. Ben’s vocal interpretation, when combined with the “sultry” tones of the saxophone section and stabs from the trumpets provided the audience with a great contrast in musical styles and genres to the previous piece.

David Tran - Alto Saxophonist

David Tran

Alto saxophonist, Dave Tran, was featured on the next tune the St Thomas Big Band performed. The arrangement of the jazz standard, “Body and Soul” was written as an alto saxophone feature piece. The melody, presented by Tran in the first 8 bars was done in a Rubato style with backings from the trumpets and trombone sectional. As a definitive sense of time came in for the second 8 bars of the melody Dave continued to present this timeless melody in a sensitive and melodic fashion. At the conclusion of the melody the arrangement takes off into a double time as Tran improvised through the chord changes interspersed with ensemble passages and hits. At the conclusion of the solo the trumpet section presented the first half of the melody before Tran finished the song with a series of paused chords to create a cadenza effect.

The final two songs in the second set were the song “Superstition” and “On the Street Where You Live”. The arrangement of “Superstition” was an instrumental number that commenced with an intro in 3/4 time before the piano commenced the clavinova riff that has become synonymous with this Stevie Wonder classic. The melody through the song was shared between all the various horn sections with a number of great counter melodies occurring throughout the chart to create excitement and a layered complexity. Michael Evans (Trumpet) was featured for the first solo before the band revisited the 3/4 introduction to lead into a solo break for Dave Tran’s (alto saxophone) solo.

Ben Hall returned to front the band for the final song of the afternoon “On the Street Where You Live”. This arrangement proves to be a high energy affair from the beginning drum fill into the introduction, through the melody and into the trumpet soli. Highlights in this arrangement include the many hits and stops from the band including after the first verse (bass feature) and into the key change for the final verse of the song. Ben managed to keep the vocals swinging and remained in the “pocket” that was created by rhythm section.

Ben Hall - Jazz Vocalist

Ben Hall

The St Thomas Big Band are an 18 piece jazz Big Band who perform a combination of well known jazz standards and modern tunes in a variety of style. Their repertoire of music would help create an atmosphere of fun, a touch of class and sophistication and would get the dance floor moving at functions including wedding receptions, private parties or corporate events.

View St Thomas Big Band’s full artist profile.

For more information on St Thomas Big Band, including bookings, contact us.

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