Following a successful excursion to Oxford to showcase their talents, it was the turn of Leeds University Big Band (LUUBB) to host an event for the Oxford University Jazz Orchestra (OUJO). In true Leeds style, the rough-around-edges Brudenell Social Club hosted the showcase. In an amicable setting, OUJO graced the stage first. The ensemble started with a few instrumental numbers allowing the band to showoff their highly proficient ensemble. Technical precision was undoubtedly their thing, and although the well executed solos were formidable, it felt that the saying “feel the music, man” was compromised. Once the singer came out and joined the band, the real classics began. OUJO showed admiration for their hosts by replicating a similar arrangement of ‘Wonderwall’, and went onto finish their set with a powerful rendition of ‘Feeling Good’ – the singer’s astonishing performance making up for the fact that the lyrics were read from an iPhone.
After a short break, the headliners, LUUBB, took to the stage, looking comfortable on home turf. By this point, drinks were aplenty and bodies were keen to sway. Trombonist Laurence Marshall proved to be both a phenomenal player and presence within the band, highlighted by a raucous muted trombone solo which earned him cheers galore. Singer, Loucin Moskofian, bravely took on the challenge that is ‘Crazy in Love’; the crowd unanimously erupted, proving her victory. The rhythm section were effortlessly tight, providing tasteful fills for the warm brass and wind sections, from which Dom Pusey, playing lead alto, often stepped into the limelight impressing the crowd with innovative soloing. With the crowd rowdily urging the band for one more, keys player Ed Rice only had to play a single a bar of Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ to encourage even the adamant non-dancers.