Watkiss & Friends featuring:
Sheila Jordan, Bonnie Greer, Heidi Vogel, Jason yarde, Jullian Joseph
Jason Rebello, Nikki Yeoh & Alex Wilson
@ the Queen Elizabeth Hall
19 November 2009
Click an image to enlarge.
Cleveland Watkiss biography
Born in Hackney, East London to Jamaican parents,
Cleveland Watkiss is one of nine children. He was exposed to a vast
array of musical genres. Added to this, his father who was both
a carpenter and a DJ often played ska, blue beat, reggae, jazz,
blues and calypso. He was also a frequent attendee of the famous
Ronnie Scott’s club, London.
Watkiss left school at 16 and studied engineering,
music and drama. His talents were quickly recognised and he became
an extremely important cog in the wheel of Lover’s Rock which
exploded during the late 70’s. He was soon to be working with
the likes of Carroll Thompson and Jamaican legendary vocalist, Sugar
Watkiss’ love for acting also grew immensely.
His growth in this aspect of the arts world afforded him a lead
role in the European production of the musical, Hair. His love for
music began to grow beyond all proportions and he then undertook
the study of the voice, guitar, piano and composition.
In 1985 Watkiss was one of the co-founders along
with Courtney Pine O.B.E of the extremely influential Jazz Warriors
big band. His vocals can be heard on the Warrior’s debut album,
“Out of Many People” which won a video award in Japan.
He was entered for the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards and was voted best
vocalist for three consecutive years.
Watkiss featured on and co-wrote the sound track
to the film Epic “Traveller” which can be heard on Talvin
Singh’s album “O.K”. He then took part in yet
another historical event at the Barbican, London which showcased
a live concert for Talvin Singh’s album. The band consisted
of an all-star line up which included the likes of the USA’s
Bill Laswell, Karsh Hale and Ajay Naidu, Japan’s Ryuichi Sakamoto,
India's Rakesh Chaurasia, Ustad Sultan Khan and Shankar Mahedevan
and the UK’s Byron Wallen.
The Club 21st Century project was founded by Cleveland
Watkiss and HyperJAM director and multimedia artist Derek Richards
to innovatively exploit all that makes the club/concert the modern
cultural processor. Live musicians from a variety of traditions
using ancient and modern technology play improvisationally with
DJs. Video and computer artists generate projected imagery live
in concord with the music. Performance artists and dancers use interactive
technology to become part of the mix.
Watkiss has performed with diverse artists such
as: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bob Dylan, Jackie Mittoo,
Keith Richards, James Taylor Quartet, Stevie Wonder, Patife, Carlinhos
Brown, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, Bobby Mc Ferrin, Branford Marsalis,
Dussildorf symphonic Orchestra, George Martin, Art Blakey, Bocato
Big Band, Lisa Stansfield, Janet Kay, Maxi Priest,Soul II Soul,
Pete Townshend, The Who, London chamber orchestra, Kassa Mady, Goldie,
Liepaja Symphonic Orchestra, Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Wheeler big
band, Sugar Minot, Talvin Singh, Bjork, Pete Townshend, London Community
Gospel Choir (LCGC).