16 December 2020

Simon Currie and Andy Bush – clock up a half century in the Music Department

We are delighted to record the combined service of over 50 years from two music teachers who have done much to establish Jazz at Abingdon School over a period of 25 years. We have been so fortunate to have these musicians with us and we pay tribute to them below.

Andy Bush (visiting teacher of the trumpet) joined us in September 1994. Andy quickly made his mark as a teacher with a flexible approach to trumpet teaching which he believed could and should be approached from a number of angles, including jazz. It turned out that Andy’s dad, Lennie Bush, had been a member of the famous Ronnie Scott Orchestra on bass and a highly respected player in the London jazz scene. Andy had been a member of NYJO, The National Youth Jazz Orchestra – a sort of finishing school for gifted jazz musicians, before going on to music college. Andy has mentored many trumpeters over the years, including several professional players (Jack Tinker) – and he’s worked with his trumpeters, preparing them for concertos and helping them with solos in the Big Band.

Simon Currie (visiting teacher of saxophone and our Big Band Leader) arrived in 1995, just a year after Andy – whom he had known in NYJO. It was Simon who really cemented the Big Band as an ensemble here. His charismatic approach has given confidence to young players to improvise and he’s inspired many musicians, several of whom (notably Tom Richards and Nathan Hawken) have gone onto illustrious careers as saxophonists. Simon has given up his time to make two Big Band CDs and to lead several tours abroad – including France, Greece, Italy, USA, Japan/Hong Kong. Pictured below are some shots of the Big Band rehearsing for their first CD and from tour brochures in 1996 and 2000.

We’ve been so lucky to have had such great teachers willing to invest their time and expertise into the musical life of Abingdon School – and on behalf of pupils, parents and staff, past and present, I would like to thank and pay tribute to them both.

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