‘Old Man’ scoops arranger Award


Fourth-year BMus Jazz student Ollie Canham has won the Eddie Harvey Jazz Arranger Award. The prize aims to honour jazz musician Eddie Harvey’s expressed wish of ensuring that jazz arrangers are recognised for their contributions to the genre.

Participants were able to submit an existing or original work for any size of group of instruments or voices, ranging from big band to smaller ensemble.

Ollie decided to arrange 'Old Man' by Neil Young for big band/jazz orchestra. Once he had completed the arrangement, he organised a recording session and sent off the recording along with the score. The arrangement had to be a minimum of five minutes and no more than 12 minutes long.

His arrangement of ‘Old Man’ triumphed, and Ollie will be presented with his award and perform his winning entry on Monday 25 March at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Ollie said: “My Lecturer Ed Puddick sent across the details about the award, and I thought I would have a go, as it would be good experience. I choose 'Old Man' as I'm a big fan of Neil Young's compositions and I thought it would be the perfect vehicle to create an original and creative arrangement! I also hadn't heard Neil Young's work being arranged in a jazz context before.

“I want to thank Ed for his continued support and tutelage, as well as Lecturer in Jazz Percy Pursglove; both of whom have been an invaluable source of input and inspiration while working towards the arrangements/compositions for my major project such as this one."

Jazz Lecturer Ed said: “Ollie is the latest in a long line of creative jazz arrangers and composers to emerge from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He has a unique arranging style, stemming from his imaginative and varied approach to playing the guitar. Congratulations Ollie!”

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