Iconoclassics at The Jazz Room

7 Star Arts announces the launch of a new series of concerts in the iconic Jazz Room at the Bull’s Head

Iconoclassics features leading, critically-acclaimed classical musicians, more at home in the world’s great concert halls than in a jazz club but all happy to break free from the conventional classical music scene. The small size of the Jazz Room creates a special connection between musicians and audience, and allows the musicians to present music in a more accessible and relaxed way.

In keeping with the main focus of The Jazz Room, programmes in the Iconoclassics series will explore links between classical music and jazz, and will include works by Ravel and Gershwin, two composers whose music crossed genres and pushed the boundaries of what we define as “classical music”.

Iconoclassics launches on 14 February 2018 with Classic Valentine – a special concert for Valentine’s Day featuring David Le Page (violin) and Viv McLean (piano). This will be followed on 11 March by a solo concert by internationally-acclaimed pianist Anthony Hewitt, who has been praised for his “fine, poetic and communicative musicianship” (BBC Music Magazine).

This promises to be an exciting and intriguing new series in an intimate and friendly venue.

 

Purists may balk at hearing classical music in a venue normally reserved for jazz, but the small size of the jazz room lends itself to the right kind of concentrated listening and intimacy of expression which this music demands and offers. And David Le Page and Viv McLean create a very special intimacy of their own – these musicians work together regularly and their empathy and mutual understanding is palpable in every note they play.

  • Frances Wilson/The Cross-Eyed Pianist

 

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Meet the Artist – Rowan Hudson, jazz pianist

The nature of improvised music means that it’s very rare that everything falls together perfectly in real time, and in a way that’s not the point.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

It’s actually very hard to pin it down to anything very concrete, I think partly because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a musician I’ve forgotten what the original motives were (and they were probably very different to what they are now), but it was probably around the age of 9 or 10 that everything else became secondary to music. I don’t think I ever really made the conscious decision to play the piano rather than any other instrument either. We had a piano in our house growing up and I had taken lessons from the age of about 7, so that sort of solved it for me. The piano is such a versatile instrument that it was able to keep up with my changing tastes in music and I never felt like I needed to look elsewhere for the sounds I was trying to make.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Apart from a couple of years of just wanting to sound exactly like Bill Evans, I don’t think I’ve been one of those musicians who has one main influence who is their ultimate musical guide, which tends to happen a bit in Jazz. Within Jazz the players who have influenced me are people like Ahmad Jamal, Liam Noble, Monk, Kit Downes, and I like them all for different reasons. For example I don’t think my playing resembles Ahmad Jamal’s at all, but his use of space has had a big impact on me, and the way in which everyone in his trio with Israel Crosby and Vernel Fournier is equally important, but there are very few bass solos or drum solos has changed the way I think about trio playing.

Outside of Jazz Robert Wyatt has been a huge influence, both as a drummer and a songwriter. His music has always felt extremely honest to me and he manages to break conventions without it sounding self consciously ‘different’. Some classical composers, particularly people like Frederick Delius and York Bowen have influenced my writing and my improvising as well, especially in their ability to form long compositions from very small, simple motifs. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to decipher the harmony in Delius’ music (I even started writing an online blog on it) and i’ve noticed that starting to creep into my music as well.

In terms of writing music I’ve realised that I’m generally not inspired by the sorts of things that most people seem to be. Most of the music that I’ve written is much more a reflection of places than it is of people. I wrote a tune a few years ago called Lunar Blues for a quintet I was playing with at the time. I had been sitting up on the roof one night staring at the sky, and that song was a sort of musical portrait of the moon, something enormous looking over us but also incredibly calm and benign. That’s the kind of thing that inspires me to write music, and it doesn’t have to be something as ethereal as the moon, it can be something much more mundane, but I think that’s the kind of thing I want to be able to convey with the music that I write. If I was a painter I’d paint scenes of places rather than portraits.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Obviously there are always things that I want to improve about myself, things about my playing and my writing that I’m not happy with, but I think what I’ve found the hardest up to this point is all the other aspects of being a musician other than playing the music. It’s partly do to with confidence but also because I’m just not very interested in (or very good at) promoting myself and making opportunities for myself. Like every other musician, I’d rather be sat at my instrument playing music than dealing the business side of things and I think that has held me back sometimes.

Finding a place to belong within music has also been difficult sometimes. I’ve come from a Jazz background where there is a fairly clear blueprint to follow in terms of making a career (study at university, go to a lot of jam sessions, form a group playing your own music, hopefully be in demand as a sideman) obviously that doesn’t mean that it’s easy at all, but there is a set of ‘rules’ to follow there. I’m starting to feel less and less like I want to be part of that. Equally I’ve never wanted to have a career as a classical pianist (which also has its established conventions), so I’m somewhere in the middle which comes with its own challenges as well. But a lot of the music I listen to, people like Robert Wyatt and Simon Jeffes have made wonderful music without being firmly within one camp, so it is completely possible to find a home outside of the established conventions for making music.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

Some of the music that I’m now playing with my trio I think is getting close to the sound I’ve been trying to create for a long time. And the other members of the trio have brought things to the music which have taken it in other directions (particularly rhythmically) which is great, and I think our three personalities are all being heard in the music we’re playing now. I’m also writing a lot of music at the moment which is less based around improvisation and uses a few instruments like cello and clarinet which I haven’t written for before. I need to work on the writing for that a bit longer, but hopefully that will start to all come together next year

Which particular works do you think you play best?

Generally I like to play simple tunes, with not too many changes. In the trio that I’m playing with at the moment we all love playing Monk tunes, so much so that we’ve actively tried to cut down the amount of Monk tunes that we play because we were getting to the point where almost half of what we were playing was his tunes. It’s the simplicity mixed with the weirdness that I think appeals to us, and his tunes take us to the kinds of places improvisationally that we seem to like to go to. Aside from Monk, I think that as a trio some of the slower Latin tunes work really well. We definitely play better at slower tempos as a trio. I’ve been playing with JJ, the bass player, for years and we’ve always preferred playing slow music to fast. Although in general I think it’s harder to play, it gives you more space to really listen and make choices, and it’s much harder to rely on just blowing through the changes when you’re at a slow tempo.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

The Vortex, in Dalston, for me is the best venue in London. I’m still yet to put on a gig playing my own music there, but I’ve played there as a sideman and I think it’s the venue which relates best to the kind of music that I’d like to make. Audiences tend to be very supportive there and people rarely go there without the intention of keeping completely quiet and listening to the music. Probably the majority of the really great music that I’ve heard in London has been there. The Bull’s Head, in Barnes, has a similar atmosphere and I’ve enjoyed playing there a lot recently. Some of the audiences outside of the UK have been really supportive as well. I did some playing in Hamburg in 2016 and the audiences there were great, completely willing to spend their money to come and listen to us having never heard of us before, that really surprised me.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

One of the most memorable was very recently actually, at the Bull’s Head in Barnes. We played a tune called Come Sunday, written by Duke Ellington. It was one of those rare times where I felt like the three of us in the trio and the audience were completely connected. I can’t think of a better way of describing it than that. I’ve only had that feeling maybe four or five times in all the time I’ve been playing. Very occasionally everything just fits perfectly in the moment and that was one of those times. And as a result we played that tune very differently to how we had been up to that point.

The nature of improvised music means that it’s very rare that everything falls together perfectly in real time, and in a way that’s not the point. There’s a Miles Davis quote where he says something like ‘I can play music all night, but there will only ever be about 8 bars where I really nail it’, and I know what he means, although for me it’s about 8 bars a year. I think I’d been playing Jazz for at least four or five years before I ever played a tune and afterwards thought ‘that wasn’t bad actually’.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

To find my own voice. And to get to the point where I feel like I’m playing and writing in the most genuine and honest way possible. I don’t think I necessarily want to have a long long career in music and be doing what I’m doing now in 20 years. If I can get to the point where I’ve written and performed some music that I really believe in then that’s probably enough for me. That could take five years, or the rest of my life, but that’s the goal.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

I think probably the best advice I could give is very boring – practice the fundamentals. A lot of people (myself included) neglect simple things like having good time, feeling comfortable in difficult keys (and minor keys), ear training, etc. too early in their development and move on to really complex concepts before the fundamentals are really in place. I definitely made that mistake and I now practice mostly quite basic things along those lines. Also, to me there seems to be a bit too much focus on harmony and not enough focus on phrasing and rhythm in Jazz education, maybe that’s just a personal thing. It’s difficult sometimes early on to see the timeline of your playing. The balance between getting the fundamentals together and also trying to find your own sound can be hard. I think most Jazz players now need to have very solid foundations to built on, maybe that wasn’t the case in the past for people like Ornette Coleman, who made his own rules. But nowadays it seems to be pretty hard to get anywhere without good reading, ability to play in different time signatures, ability to play modal tunes, etc. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but I think it is the way things are now.

 

Rowan Hudson performs with his trio at The Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head on Thursday 18 January at 8pm. Further information and tickets

Classic Gershwin on BBC London

Susan Porrett (actress and writer of Classic Gershwin) and Yvonne Evans (Director of 7 Star Arts) will be appearing on the Jo Good show on BBC London at 1pm on Wednesday 10 January to talk about The Cinema Museum London & “Classic Gershwin” (which plays at The Cinema Museum on Saturday 13th January). Featuring music from the show played by acclaimed pianist Viv McLean.

Book tickets to Classic Gershwin at The Cinema Museum

 

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p011nd8m

Win a pair of tickets to Classic Gershwin at The Cinema Museum

Classic Gershwin, 7 Star Arts’ acclaimed portrayal of the life of George Gershwin in music and words, will be at The Cinema Museum in Kennington, south London for one night only on Saturday 13 January 2018. For a chance to win a pair of tickets to this “terrific” concert, answer the following question:

How are GEORGE GERSHWIN & Charlie Chaplin (who lived as a child in the former Victoria workhouse where the Cinema Museum is now located) connected?

Email your answer here

 

Don’t forget to include your contact details so we can let you know if you have won!

Good luck

 

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Meet the Artist – Alena Walentin Lugovkina, flautist

Who or what inspired you to take up flute and pursue a career in music?

Thinking back to how I’ve started flute and came to the UK, I think of the phrase “it was meant to be”.

According to my parents, every time I heard music, I would start singing, so I’ve been singing since I was a few months old. Because of my singing and love of music, my parents thought that this is something that I wanted to do or would wish to do when I grew up. So it is my parents who really made it happen, for which I will be forever grateful .

One day my mom was on the tube and heard a young girl quietly singing (she was just sitting preparing solfeggio homework). She was singing so beautifully that my mom approached mother of that girl asking where she was studying. They gave us an address of that school and few days later my mom and I went to that school and apparently as soon as I’ve entered the door to the school I said “I will be studying here”. That turned out to be one of three finest music schools in whole Russia – called Gnessin Special Music School.

Even though I was only six years old and it was a 3 hour commute to that school every day, I was so determined to study there. First I started on piano, but as the school was a special music school (similar to The Purcell School or Chetham’s School of Music in UK), my piano teacher demanded that we bought piano so that I could practice at home. As we didn’t have money for piano, I was transferred to a recorder, which was the cheapest instrument at the time. The system in the school was that you played recorder first and then when you were 10 or 12 years old, you transferred to other woodwind instrument. When the time came for me to choose which instrument I wanted to play, I couldn’t make up my mind.

One day I got a CD from a friend. The person who gave it to me didn’t know who was playing or what they were playing, as they’d got a copy of it from someone else who also didn’t know who was playing on CD. I put that mysterious CD into the CD player and almost stopped breathing when I heard it. It was the first time that I’d heard such a deep, mesmerising and enchanting sound of the flute. It was just a simple charming French suite, but the musicianship and this amazing sound had a great impact on me. I remember saying then “if a flute can sound like this – I would like to play the flute”.

Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?

So here my story continues. A couple of years later, I went to a competition in Romania, where I became friends with two flute players – one from Israel, other from South Korea. One day I received a letter from my Korean friend with a list of summer schools that she recommended for me to attend. My English wasn’t that great then, so looking at the websites of the summer schools, trying to choose, I am not sure how I’ve made my choice – probably again that magical “meant to be”.

The summer school took place in Surrey with flautist William Bennett. It changed my life and opened my eyes to a whole new world of flute playing. The level playing was so high and William Bennett’s teaching so musical and inspiring, that the whole experience of summer school made me suddenly want to practice rather than having to practice. I realised straight away that William Bennett (also known as “Wibb”) was THE teacher I wanted to study with and I was very happy to hear that he liked my playing and suggested I audition for the Royal Academy of Music. I was very lucky to get a full scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music and so I was able to come London and study.

One day (I think that was my 2nd year at RAM), I brought the Godard Suite to Wibb for a lesson. He said: “before we start the lesson, listen to this recording”. He put the recording on his Gramophone. It was that very recording that I’ve heard when I was 11 and that made me take up the flute. I asked: “WHO is playing?!” And Wibb replied: “Me. Why?”

I feel that was meant to be….. Wibb continues to be my endless inspiration.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

About 4-5 years ago I did recital in New York. It was in the summer and I’d bought dress half a year before that, but hadn’t tried it on until 20 min before recital. That is when I discovered that I’d lost a lot of weight in those months! Having discovered that, I was really worried, as the dress was basically falling down! Running up and down the concert venue, I manically tried to find a sewing kit somewhere to try to fix it and I managed to do it! But I walked on stage after 20 minutes of sewing and running. And with jet lag. Nevertheless, the concert seemed to be a success, as it has led to some fantastic engagements, including an invitation to play at the Gala concert of the British Flute Society, sharing the recital with the famous flute player Emmanuel Pahud.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I would leave this for the audience to decide. This is not the easiest question for me to answer, as I do love performing different styles of music and our profession tends to make us often perform what we are told to perform. And we try to do our best with every piece we play. I enjoy romantic and impressionistic music the most.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I keep discovering many different interesting pieces. I do have favourite pieces that I play often, but I am always open to new repertoire. I am also trying to broaden the standard flute repertoire, arranging for flute some of the best pieces there are that can work on flute as well.

I also like performing new music from the 20th century and contemporary composers, including music of those composers who write for and dedicate their pieces to me.

I also choose repertoire depending on what the audience in a particular place or venue might like as well as the acoustics of the venue.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

For me it is definitely the Wigmore Hall. It is an absolute perfect space for solo and small chamber music. Perfect size, perfect acoustics, wonderful atmosphere. Every time I play there, I just want to go back there immediately!

Who are your favourite musicians?

Impossible to name. There are so many musicians that I so deeply respect for their amazing musicianship and I am lucky to be working with some of them!

What is your most memorable concert experience?

When I was around 14, I played my first concerto with orchestra. It was in a fantastic hall and with amazing Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. But I have got very ill a day before and on the day of the concert I had fever of 39.5°C which is scary. Nevertheless, I still went and played and got a standing ovation, which was amazing. But I remember getting to the cadenza and having a complete memory blank – I couldn’t remember at all how it went! But luckily I have quite good improvisation skills, so made up the cadenza right there on the spot.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

It should always be about the music.

Sometimes people practice so hard to get all the notes right. And they do, but the audience feels nothing. Why is that? It is because it is not just about the notes, but what is between the notes that matters. And how we can pass the beauty of that music to the audience to make them feel all the emotions that there are in the music that we play. We need to create and convey stories through music. Life becomes much brighter and more colourful when one lets music into their heart and I feel so lucky to be a musician to let these wonderful miracles happen.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I think a perfect balance between work and family. I know I wouldn’t be happy if I spent all my time working, but I also wouldn’t have been happy if I didn’t have my work, as I do love being musician. But with this perfect balance, I would always want to give my absolute 100% to both.

Alena Lugovkina performs music by Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and more with harpist Anne Denholm at Dorich House Museum, Kingston, on Thursday 7th December 2017. The music will be interspersed with readings from Russian poetry and literature. Audience members will have an opportunity to explore Dorich House Museum, the Art Deco former home of artist Dora Gordine, before the concert. Full details and tickets here

Alena Lugovkina’s website

(Photo: Nick Rutter)

Meet the Artist…..Stefanos Tsourelis

Ahead of his concert at the Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head on 14 November, we spoke to guitar and oud player and composer Stefanos Tsourelis about his musical influences and inspirations, and more…..

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

I was inspired and motivated by my music heroes like Jim Hendrix, John McLaughlin and Anoir Brahem. Also was also very keen on the idea of making a living from something I really love doing.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My music teachers, my guitar and oud idols and my friends who are great musicians

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Making a living in a city like London as a musician is a challenge. It can be hard to balance work with creativity.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

I am proud of my debut album “Native Speaker” and recent album launch in London.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

The Bull’s Head in Barnes seems to be one of my favourites at the moment. I like the vibe of this venue

As a composer, of which works are you most proud?

At the moment I am proud of a ballad I wrote for my debut album called “Calm Sea”. It is a gentle piece and ideal for creative improvisation

How would you characterise your compositional language?

I would call it ‘Jazz World Fusion’

How do you work? (as a composer)

I usually work on a melody or a riff that comes out naturally. Some times the piece comes with no effort. Some times I revisit ideas and develop the piece in time.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

When a musician and composer finds their true inner voice. I believe that people recognise and appreciate the true individuality

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Hard work, open mind, honesty to your art and an open ear to your inner voice

 

Hot on the heels of the release of their debut album ‘Native Speaker’, Stefanos Tsourelis Trio brings a to the Bull’s Head a heady mix of jazz and rock with Oriental and Greek influences, traditional Mediterranean melodies and textures, with Flamenco and African rhythms which conspire to generate dynamic grooves underpinning wonderful melodic forms combined with nuanced dynamics and sparkling arrangements. Tuesday 14 November at 8pm. Featuring ‘live art’ by Alban Low (creator of The Art of Jazz). Part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

BOOK TICKETS

‘Driftwood’ by Klara Smith

A taster of Klara Smith’s beautiful papercuts with music by David le Page, composed in response to Klara’s work, ahead of the concert and exhibition opening on Saturday 4th November at Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre

Book tickets

Meet the Artist……Liam Stevens, piano

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?

I loved football, but I wasn’t going to make it as a footballer even though I loved it. Then I discovered that I didn’t have to play only classical music on the piano. Joining a soul band at high school was probably a big influence.

I was at home in Wigan where I’m from and I watched a TV programme about Oscar Peterson. I think it was an all-night thing, and I thought that’s what I want to do, although I will always love classical music as well.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Jazz

Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, Wynton Kelly, Kenny Kirkland, Dan Nimmer, Benet Mclean, Benny Green, Ahmad Jamal, Nathan Britton, Ray Brown, Ed Thigpen, Vernell Fournier, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Leo Wright, Clifford Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Phil Woods,,Sonny Stitt, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Wes Montgomery, Nigel Price, Andy Davies, and Joe Pass, (I could go on forever) I tried to include some British guys!

Classical/Other

Georges Cziffra, Evgeny Kissin, Daniil Trifonov, Anthony Hewitt, Vladimir Horowitz, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckermann, Benjamin Grosvenor, Sviatoslav Richter, Glenn Gould, and Rachmaninoff

I’m also a big fan of choral music such as Rachmaninoff’s Vespers and Bach’s St Matthew Passion

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Being consistent within my own playing

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

I’ve only ever recorded one album, and I am very proud of it, although that said, I do prefer playing live.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

Jazz Standards and jazz that really swings. I enjoy playing stride piano as I am a massive Art Tatum fan

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I usually let everyone else pick the tunes

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

Piano Bar Soho and most of the jazz clubs in London. I prefer intimacy and having the band close. I think we play more as a unit in these situations. I’m happy to rock up and play anywhere as long as it’s good vibes! If I had to say, probably the smaller places with the smaller audiences. That way we can play more musically as a trio rather than just trying to make lots of noise to overpower a loud audience or fill a big room with sound

What is your most memorable concert experience?

My first solo concert was terrifying but loads of fun. First time playing with Aydenne Simone and Benet Mclean was a roast!

My first late night gig at Pizza Express Soho. I was about 19 and my drummer Joe Dessauer had just turned 18, I think. We were both scared but it was such a good eye-opener as to what we needed to do, and what we could really achieve. My first solo concert was the same, really nerve-wracking but I learnt so much in terms of what I needed to do and achieve

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

It’s different for everyone. I just really got into a few specific piano players and tried to emulate their style.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Same place as I am now! Quite a privilege to play piano for a living

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

It doesn’t exist!

What is your most treasured possession?

My hands. Gotta pay those bills, man!

What do you enjoy doing most?

Cooking, Reading, Beer, Wine, Scotch, Pub, Theatre and watching football

What is your present state of mind?

Rebellious

 

‘Blue Skies’, Liam Stevens’ debut disc, with Aydenne Simone, is available now.

Liam performs and his trio perform with Aydenne Simone at The Bull’s Head as part of the Blue Skies tour on Thursday 5th October. Full details of all concerts here

 

‘Blue Skies’ – new album from Aydenne Simone & Liam Stevens

BLUE SKIES – the new album from Aydenne Simone & Liam Stevens Trio, is just swinging!

The story so far……

Aydenne & Liam met at The Piano Bar Street Jazz Festival June 2016 – six days later they performed their first gig together and it was sheer magic. The rest is history!

​The chemistry between them is incredible to watch. Every performance they do together they have the audience in the palm of their hand, hanging on every note!

This magical collaboration has now resulted in a new album featuring Aydenne and Liam’s personal take on popular jazz standards such as Summertime and One For My Baby.

one of those albums you will play again and again, the songs are known and loved, and the quality of playing is stunning

Aydenne and Liam will be performing music from Blue Skies at The Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head as part of their album launch tour on Thursday 5 October 2017. More information

 

Blue Skies is released on 22 July 2017

 

Listen to a sample track

 

Order Blue Skies

 

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Meet the Artist……Aydenne Simone, jazz and blues vocalist

‘BLUE SKIES’ – the new album with Liam Stevens is released 22 July 2017

Who or what inspired you to take up singing and pursue a career in music?

My father was a jazz musician, and a massive jazz fan. Jazz is what I grew up listening to and was given my first jazz album at 6 years old.

Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Sarah Vaughan, Eydie Gorme, and Ella Fitzgerald

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Well every day is a school day, and the greatest challenge has got to be to consistently striving forward and raising the bar. When the bar is raised you have two choices step up, or step out. I choose to step up and take on the challenge to constantly improve what I do.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

“All of me” album (not least because I had a broken foot and full blown flu at the time), “Running Away” single and a recording I did with Roger Limb of ‘Round Midnight’

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

Jazz ballads, and firing blues numbers; ‘Misty’, ‘My Funny Valentine’, ‘Round Midnight’, ‘Stormy Monday’ and ‘Mama Told me’.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I like songs that are pretty, in a way, either I fall in love with the melody or I love the story the lyricist is telling. I tend to choose songs that I know I can make my own, and use the tones in my vocal range to add light and shade, use techniques to get to try and demonstrate the story the lyricists is telling us.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

The Piano Bar in Soho (not a concert venue but one of my favourite places to sing), Pizza Express, The Pheasantry, Chelsea, London, and Quay Arts Theatre, Isle of Wight

Who are your favourite musicians?

Oh my days I could go on all day! In London, *Benet Mclean (violin & piano), Nathan Britton (pianist), *Liam Stevens (pianist), *Clinton Paul (blues guitar), *Harry Bolt (pianist) Roger Limb (pianist), *Dario Di Leece (double bass), *Emiliano Carouseli (drums), Andrew Huggett (drums), Imre Varga (pianist), Derek Nash (sax), that is just a small handful (apologies to anybody who feels left out, but I could be here till next Christmas!).

Listening/Records my favourites are Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Oscar Peterson (pianist), Errol Garner (pianist), Michel Camilo (pianist), Count Basie (pianist + band leader/arranger), Bill Evans (pianist), Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Benet McLean, again I could just go on and on!

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Newport Jazz Weekend, Isle of Wight 2013 and 2015, Piano Bar Street Jazz Festival 2016, and Pizza Express Live The Pheasantry with the most incredible line up*

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Listen rather than hear and as much as possible. Listen to each musician and the interaction between them, the phrasing, timing……it all educates.

Aydenne Simone performs with the Liam Stevens Trio at The Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head Barnes on 5 January 2017 – further details here

(photo ©Aydenne Simone)

www.aydennesimone.co.uk