Sean Nelson’s New London Large Band will be part of the Jap Connecticut Symphony Orchestra onstage Saturday within the Garde Arts Heart. (Vinnie Scarano)
When Rudyard Kipling wrote “By no means the twain shall meet,” he wasn’t desirous about people like Sean Nelson and Toshiyuki Shimada.
Although there are distinctive aesthetic variations between Shimada’s elegantly classical Jap Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and Nelson’s rousing trad jazz New London Large Band, the 2 ensembles have discovered a mutually gratifying kinship and stylistic overlap that shall be ebulliently displayed Saturday once they share a invoice on the Garde Arts Heart.
Formally, it’s the ECSO’s first live performance of the brand new yr and the third of the 2022-23 season. The orchestra will carry out the primary half of this system and, after intermission, they’ll be joined onstage by the 17-piece New London Large Band for a set of fabric chosen and organized to indicate off the mixed abilities of each items. Aural fireworks, gleeful virtuosity and terrific instrumental interaction between the 2 items will ensue and, if the previous is any indication, the ECSO devoted shall be delighted.
In any case, that is the second time the Large Band has guested on an ECSO program. In February 2020, in a daring, enjoyable little bit of programming, the 2 organizations co-headlined the Garde as one of many ECSO’s recurrently scheduled seasonal concert events. The present was an enormous success.
By in style demand
“That was our best-selling live performance in 10 years,” says Caleb Bailey, government director for the symphony. “It was a worthwhile endeavor, and we instantly acquired plenty of requests from our season ticketholders to do it once more. We WANTED to do it once more. However that was additionally our final live performance earlier than COVID hit.”
The ECSO was again for the 2021-22 season however scheduling for each ensembles was sufficiently tentative that the soonest they might ebook one other co-bill was Saturday.
“Man, we had a lot enjoyable sharing the stage the primary time,” Nelson says, a trombonist who serves as composer and arranger for his band. “It was a little bit of an experiment, so it was gratifying that the Garde was packed. We’d by no means completed something like that — combining so many musicians from the stylistically completely different worlds of classical and jazz. From our perspective, it was humbling to be a part of that program. I by no means thought I’d be on the Garde stage with an orchestra. They usually made us really feel immediately welcome.”
The important thing to the idea is that Nelson and Shimada discover a mix of fabric that allows their respective bands to shine in a trend that appeals to followers of every unit. On Saturday, the ECSO will take the stage first and play Bernstein’s “On the City: Three Dance Episodes,” Harbison’s “Remembering Gatsby (Foxtrot for Orchestra),” and Gershwin’s “The Man I Love.”
After the break, the Large Band comes out and collectively the ensembles will discover extra Gershwin (“Quickly,” “Embraceable You” and “Fascinating Rhythm”), Debussy’s “Clair de lune” and “Juan Tizol’s “Keb-Lah.” Nelson’s personal tunes — “Brisket and Beans,” “Meatspace,” “Final Name” and the group’s theme music, “Social Hour” — are additionally on the invoice. Nelson’s tunes, that are featured on the 2 New London Large Band CDs, “Social Hour” and the stay “Dancing Nitely,” are greater than aggressive with established work within the style.
By prior preparations
As he did for the preliminary ECSO twin-bill, Nelson has organized plenty of the fabric for the upcoming live performance, and he admits it’s a little bit of a frightening job.
“It’s an enormous venture to rewrite materials for a much bigger ensemble,” Nelson says. “The one option to do it’s in such a means that respects all of the musicians on the stage. I need to be sure that all of them have worth and don’t really feel like their elements are afterthoughts. There’s a giant sense of journey for all of us, I feel. Taking part in the music simply to do one thing like this can be a massive a part of the enjoyment.”
One facet that makes it simpler is the chemistry is that many ECSO and Large Band musicians are or have been members of america Coast Guard Band, an outfit whose mission requires a demanding mastery of many alternative kinds of music. In that sense, there’s a built-in private and creative camaraderie that lots of the musicians share have from having performed collectively.
Principally, it’s enjoyable
“The ensembles and Toshi and Sean get alongside tremendous nicely,” Bailey says. “The rehearsals are enjoyable and thrilling, and that’s one thing that interprets to the viewers in the course of the precise live performance. You may as well see it onstage when Sean and Toshi are bantering and going forwards and backwards introducing songs.”
That mutual respect and admiration is a giant a part of how the collaborative concert events took place.
“The entire idea kind of bubbled up organically,” Bailey explains. “In 2017-18, we’d completed a program referred to as ‘Mozart and Lalo Birthday Bash’ as a result of these two composers shared a birthday. Somebody identified that Jerome Kern had the identical birthday so, as an encore, we had our visitor soprano, Sarah Yanovitch, do Kern’s ‘Smoke Will get in Your Eyes.’ Individuals went loopy.
“It reminded us that, earlier in that season, visitor piano soloist Mark Markham had encored with Meredith Wilson’s ‘Until There Was You’ and the group liked it. We began listening to from patrons that they’d take pleasure in extra programming like that.”
Bailey has seen Fb movies of Nelson’s band and was intrigued and impressed. He reached out to a mutual pal, Tim Fioravante, music division chair at Waterford Excessive Faculty, chief of his personal massive band and former member of the New London Large Band, who facilitated a gathering between Shimada, Bailey and Nelson.
“All of us simply immediately acquired alongside,” Nelson says. “There was an power and a right away concept that it will work.”
It took a yr and a half to determine all the small print required earlier than the 2020 live performance grew to become a part of the ECSO season. Now, circumstances are such that it’s lastly occurring once more.
“My aim all alongside concerning the Large Band and jazz is that it’s one thing for everybody,” Nelson says. “There’s a particular vibe to it. However I’m additionally a proud classical musician and the identical issues apply to classical music. I really like the chance to play in a welcoming atmosphere, whether or not that’s in a bar the place individuals are consuming and dancing or a live performance corridor as a result of you may inform when the viewers will get it. The ECSO crowd was very hip final time. We’re all placing this power out into the world. It’s a great factor.”
Bailey provides, “I’m so excited to see the stage crammed full of those two ensembles once more. And I promise: Anybody who attends shall be actually glad they have been there.”
If you happen to go
Who: The Jap Connecticut Symphony Orchestra with Sean Nelson’s New London Large Band
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
The place: Garde Arts Heart, 325 State St., New London
How a lot: $12-$65
For extra info: (860) 444-7373, www.ectsymphony.com, www.newlondonbigband.com