She Said out 7 October
NYJO’s latest studio album, She Said, was recorded in 2019 at the legendary Air Studios, in London. Released into a different world, three years later, its message remains pressing; the project is a celebration of women’s contribution to jazz, featuring past, present, and future female jazz musicians.
She Said features a 24-piece NYJO Jazz Orchestra comprised of a stellar line-up of emerging professional musicians aged 18-25 and a group of younger musicians from NYJO’s London Academy, who were there to gain vital experience alongside an incredible list of guest artists from multiple generations of UK jazz history, such as Norma Winstone, Georgina Jackson, Josephine Davies, Shirley Smart, Laura Jurd, Issie Barratt, Nikki Iles, and Yazz Ahmed.
It was a pleasure to be involved with a collection of stunning music, both old and new, highlighting the ongoing contribution to the evolving history of jazz by women.
Shirley Smart, Guest Cello
One of those young musicians was trumpeter, Kara Devlin, who remembers her experience at the recording fondly: “Recording the album was brilliant for helping me get real-world experience as a musician because as a young person and a woman it’s especially difficult to find these opportunities. It helped me to work in a professional setting, and it was great fun to play with all of my friends too!”
The brief for the guest creatives was simple: to compose freely, drawing on the creative possibilities offered by a big band to express their voice as women in jazz.
It was an honour to be asked to be a part of this really important project. NYJO is such a crucial institution and I was proud to be a part of it years ago, when there were only a few females ever in the brass section! The band recorded this live with me in 2 takes that’s amazing, I think I was much more nervous than they were!
There is such a lovely, socially and musically supportive feeling in NYJO this is wonderful for the future of all musicians and audiences alike.
Georgina Jackson, Guest Trumpet & Vocals
Surrounding the original commissions, She Said also honours the work of female composers throughout the decades, from Lil Hardin’s 1920s jazz standard, ‘Struttin’ with Some Barbecue’, to Billie Holiday’s ‘God Bless the Child’.
Like NYJO, She Said hopes to encourage an inter-generational dialogue, to nurture and inspire a new cohort of aspiring musicians.
It was a joy to be involved in the recording of ‘She Said’ at London’s iconic AIR studios to mark the end of my time with NYJO. I’m so thankful to Charlie [Bates] for his beautifully bespoke arrangement of ‘Celeste’. It was a joy to have the opportunity to contribute this stunning piece to the album ; made even more special by the fact that it features album special guest Norma Winstone’s gorgeous lyric. She’s a real inspiration, so to be singing some of her work and to be included on the same record celebrating female musicians and composers is something to be proud of.