Sunday, 27 February 2011

UK Jazz Tour - Gigs 5 & 6 of 12 - Hawth, Crawley & Camberwell Crypt

We're half way through!

The Hawth is a lovely venue.  A proper but cosy little studio theatre with raked seating. Only thing is when I was on stage the audience was in complete darkness which meant I could see no-one at all!  I love to see the faces of the audience while I'm singing so that made it a little difficult but I made up for this by going out and meeting them all during the interval...
The Hawth Theatre
George, Oli and Milo on stage during soundcheck
Somr of the people I met during the interval

Brian (a jazz photographer) and his wife.  He took lots of pictures of me during
 the show so I thought it only fair to return the favour!

Me with 2 lovely ladies -  She looks as if she's about to kiss me
but think she was just caught mid sentence!

Taken by a professional - Brian O'Connor

Another photo from Brian O'Connor (See my photo of Brian above!)

Oli was back with us for these 2 gigs and it was lovely to play with him and hear stories of his tour in Ireland with Zoe Rahman.  The promoter also arranged for us to be given a hot meal before the performance.  This seems like a luxury but really it should be a necessity as when we've travelled for hours it can be tough to then have to go out looking for somewhere to get a meal with only minutes to spare after the soundcheck.  And that's not to mention the added cost!  I wish all promoters would consider this.

Then the next day we were in my home town of London for my first performance at the Camberwell Crypt.  I've been to this venue as part of the audience before and always loved it so it was great to be performing there.  Again we had a meal before the performance and I highly recommend the food.  Especially the puddings.  Yum!

What was particularly good about this venue is that it's full of young people.  A real rarity in jazz.  There were more than a hundred people there and the average age definitely seemed to be under thirty.  Maybe we shouldn't be so pessimistic about the future of jazz after all?

The sign says "Welcome To The Crypt"  A bit spooky, no?  Muhahahahaha!

Some of the lovely people at the gig
More lovely people.  And the girl on the left has spectacular hair!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

UK Jazz Tour - Gigs 2, 3 & 4 of 12 - Royal Albert Hall and Northumberland

What a great week. Three sold out gigs in a row!  I could get used to this... :-)

But before I update you on those 3 gigs, let me tell you about my recent brush with royalty!  At the beginning of the month I was chosen to perform at a fundraising event for Aid to Zimbabwe.  Also performing was one of my influences Annie Lennox ( I do a cover of the Eurythmics song "Here Comes The Rain Again" on my latest album "Licorice Kiss") and if that was not enough, also present was HRH Prince of Wales.  Here are a couple of snaps of the event.   I was just a few feet away from Prince Charles himself!

There was beautiful singing from a national choir 

Prince Charles doing his "meet and greet" (Sadly I was in the 2nd row!)
Then to continue the Royal theme, the 2nd gig of the tour was for Valentine's Day at the Royal Albert Hall (Elgar Room).  For our dressing room, George and I were shown to the Queen's Retiring Room.  So within a week I was rubbing shoulders (well almost) with Prince Charles and sharing his mother's dressing room! 
The Queen's Retiring Room

It was a lovely evening.  It was the first of the sold out performances and took place in a beautiful setting.  And George accompanied me on a bright red grand piano that was donated by Elton John.  (I will resist making a joke about another Queen here.)

Next up was our gig at the Queen's Hall in Hexham.  (Again the royal theme.  This is getting spooky!)  It was a very very long drive but so worth it once we arrived.  The audience were lovely and very enthusiastic.  Met some really warm and friendly people. 

Queen's Hall Arts Centre - So good to see they actually put my posters up!

We performed a request for the birthday girl on the left
Nice to see 3 generations out enjoying jazz
Audience waiting for us to start - A lovely lady called Jen and her friend

Then we had a day off in Northumberland.  It was pretty cold and rainy but that didn't stop us making an excursion to Lindisfarne aka Holy Island.  A beautiful place - although think we could have appreciated it much more if we hadn't been battling the elements.  There were so many scary "Danger" signs about being stranded on the island when the tide came in that I was worried that we would get stuck and miss our gig at the Maltings in Berwick that evening!

Dave and one of those scary signs!

Dave, George and me - trying to look as if we're not being pelted by wind and rain...
(Castle just visible in background)

The "beach"

The Priory and graveyard
Then on Saturday night it was off to the Maltings Theatre and Cinema for our performance in their Henry Travers Studio.  When we arrived it was a huge empty room with lovely vaulted ceilings but when the lighting was on and the tables and candles put out their was a lovely atmosphere.  Once again the audience were enthusiastic and very welcoming.  Northumberland - you rock!
The beautiful entrance to the venue

Just loved the lights - had to take another photo!

Soundcheck after the lighting but before the tables were put out

Moody pic of Milo...


...and George during soundcheck

Some lovely audience members

And more lovely audience members


Sunday, 13 February 2011

Juliet Kelly's Vocal Zone - February Playlist

This month's show on UK Jazz Radio features tracks from the vocalists that have inspired and influenced me.  Ties in nicely with my current UK tour!  Here's the list:

Dianne Reeves – You Go To My Head (A Little Moonlight - Blue Note)
Cassandra Wilson – Blue in Green (Sings Standards - Decca)
Anita Wardell – Autumn Leaves (Noted – Specific)
Tina May – Sometime Ago (More Than You Know – 33 Jazz)
Claire Martin – Something Real (Offbeat – Linn)
Dee Dee Bridgewater – Doodlin’ (Love & Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver - Verve/Emarr)
Diana Krall – Temptation (The Girl in the Other Room - Verve/Decca)
Jamie Cullum – High and Dry (Pointless Nostalgic - Candid)*
Madeleine Peyroux – Dance Me To The End of Love (Careless Love - Decca/Universal)

Please feel free to leave comments and/or questions. 

* Just realised that I said on the show that this track was from Twentysomething when obviously it's from his first album with Candid called Pointless Nostaligic.  Oops - sorry!

Monday, 7 February 2011

UK Jazz Tour - Gig 1 of 12 - The Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon

First of all, you probably noticed that the title says 1 of 12 instead of 1 of 13.  That's because sadly one of the gigs (Derby) got cancelled this week.  :-(  But... it means I get to spend a free day - a mini-holiday if you like - in lovely Northumberland.  So it's not all bad!

Anyway, back to Stratford Jazz @The Chapel.  We arrived after a 2-hour fairly easy drive to be met by a very helpful member of staff who also doubled as the sound engineer. 

The promoter Roy - who does a wonderful job running the club - arrived soon after and they sorted out drinks and food for us whilst we set up and did a quick soundcheck.  If only all gigs were so smoothly run and well organised!  I complimented Roy on his great checked shirt which made him chuckle as he said his wife hated it!

The audience started to trickle in quite quickly and there was a good turnout with all seats taken, and a couple more standing at the bar.  The promoter Roy introduced us and we started our set.

Audience coming in at start of gig

Ryan Trebilcock who was standing in for Oli Hayhurst did a remarkable job.  Especially as he only saw the music 30 minutes before we went on stage.  What a star!

Ryan, George, Milo and me

During the break I chatted with some of the lovely people in the audience  - if any of you read this, please comment so that I can add your name below your photo - and then we were back on for the second set in what seemed like the blink of an eye.

Someone trying to take a photo of me while I was taking a photo of them!

Some lovely audience members

More lovely audience members

The audience called for an encore at the end of the second set and we did a new version (with my own lyrics) of the standard "Let's Do It" which went down really well.  Someone came up to me at the end and urged me to add some more of these types of songs to my repertoire as he believed I had a talent for satirical lyric writing.  Hmm,,, food for thought.

And then there was the lovely lady who, as she was leaving, said to me excitedly that she'd never listened to jazz before but that she really enjoyed our performance.  For me, that's one of the best things someone can say to me at the end of a gig. I feel proud to have attracted a new convert to jazz!  One by one...

Next gig - 14th February @ The Royal Albert Hall, Elgar Room.