‘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

7 Star Arts residency at The Bull’s Head, Barnes

From 24 December 2016, 7 Star Arts has a year-long residency at the iconic Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head, Barnes.

The Bull’s original music room was opened at the same time as Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in 1959 and became known as the “suburban Ronnie Scott’s”. It is now an established part of the London jazz scene and host to many acclaimed jazz musicians and singers, including Humphrey Lyttleton, Jamie Cullum and Peter King. It attracts audiences from all over the capital and beyond who favour the intimate setting and a chance to get up close and personal with music and musicians.

7 Star Arts presents a series of events featuring acclaimed musicians Viv McLean, Susan Porrett, Liam Stevens and his trio, Duncan Eagles and saxophonist Jess Gillam, and many more……

Check out our Events page for more information