On Thursday 27th November, Durham University Big Band welcomed Pete Churchill to the Music Department for an evening workshop (kindly supported by PwC).

Pete is regarded as one of the finest jazz educators in the UK and is currently head of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music as well as being in high demand for large scale singing projects, especially with youth music organisations.

It was, however, Pete’s expertise in the direction of Big Bands that DUBB were after. Pete has worked with the Kenny Wheeler Big Band on Kenny’s 80th birthday tour as well as on the critically acclaimed album “The Long Waiting”. (Well worth a listen- it’s incredible writing.)

Pete started the evening by running a sectional with Rhythm. In just over an hour he transformed the section, not only by tightening the group, but by unifying the sound and creating a solid base that the rest of the band could play against.

When the full band came together later in the evening, Pete workshopped 2 Kenny charts- “Enowena” and “How Deep Is The Ocean”, as well as “Barcarolle”- a chart composed by a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. Pete’s enthusiasm, insight and expertise was most welcomed and enabled the band to instantly improve their playing as well as give them plenty to work on in the future.To hear the results of this workshop you can see the band at A Jazzy Christmas 2 on Wednesday 10th December from 8pm. It’s free entry, so come along after formal and before LloydsShack, grab a drink at the bar and enjoy!