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Krystle Warren

Roachford

Jazz Voice featuring:
Natalie Williams, Roachford, Krystle Warren,
Sarah Jane Morris, Sheila Jordan, Kurt Elling,
Guy Barker, Cibelle, Kirsty Almeida & Natalie Merchant
@ the Barbican
13 November 2009

Click an image to enlarge.

Krystle Warren biography

Born and raised in Kansas City, music was casual in the Warren home, from her grandmom’s eight track tapes to the lullabies her family sung around the house, to a brief and much-hated stint in the church choir. She herself remembers starting to sing at the age of four, but it wasn't until she saw an ABC special on The Beatles at age 13 that she really became passionate about learning and performing music. Warren’s learned her first chords by ear from Rubber Soul and Revolver, and her musical horizons quickly expanded to include grunge (Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden), classic Brit Pop (The Kinks, The Who, The Faces) and even jazz, in particular Betty Carter, Nina Simone, Kurt Elling and even Mel Torme. With these diverse influences, it wasn’t surprising that she quickly developed a sound of her own.

At 17, Warren took her fledgling songwriting skills out into KC’s thriving counterculture, befriending numerous avant-garde artists, from painters to street poets to singers, who gave her the support to move forward with her music. “I knew a lot of amazing people in Kansas City,” Warren recalls, “quite a few musicians and composers who were really into something new. Though I started in the singer/songwriter scene, I began performing in a lot of jazz spots when I was about twenty, and those folks were really helpful in my education.”

While Warren never perceived a glass ceiling on what she could accomplish musically in the Midwest, she did feel a growing wanderlust. “I could have gone anyplace, Austin, San Francisco; it didn't matter much to me. I just wanted to see something new, and somehow that place was NYC. I did choke up a bit leaving KC - I’d never lived anywhere else. My very first night in NYC was thrilling, but after crashing on numerous couches in the West Village, I began to feel like I was in over my head.” Warren eventually fell in with some jazz musicians, moving into their apartment in Harlem. This was one of many collaborations, and within a year Warren had met the musicians who were to form the core of her steady band, The Faculty.

With The Faculty on board, Warren’s live shows have been garnishing praise from both fans and critics alike, and she’s toured the US with artists ranging from Martha Wainwright to Zap Mama, from Rodrigo & Gabriela to Erykah Badu. Warren also recently had the opportunity to fulfil a dream by performing at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. “The best part of Newport, other than playing, was the backstage community - at one point I was standing next to Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, watching Bright Eyes perform! Another high point was when I was missing a guitar strap, and Emmylou Harris’ manager came over and offered me her guitar strap.”

Roachford biography

Ever since bulldozing his way onto the scene with unforgettable tracks like “Cuddly Toy” and “Family Man” in the late 80s, Andrew Roachford’s maverick take on music has spread far and wide. As the first artist to sign a staggering seven-album deal with Columbia Records, it heralded the beginning of something big. “Getting signed and being a black British artist gave me a sense of pride” enthuses Roachford.

Like any artist worth their salt, Andrew Roachford’s music is the result of many things. Raised in south London to West Indian parents, as a child of the 70s and 80s, it's no wonder that his music sounds the way it does. Influenced by everyone from Curtis Mayfield and Al Green to The Roots, D’Angelo and Jill Scott, Roachford’s formative years were also spent listening to Radio One, reggae and jazz. Pinpointing the beginning of his musical career as a child he vividly remembers being mysteriously drawn from his bed to play the piano in his living room. “There was always a piano in the house and I just got up and started playing even though I’d never played before. There was something quite surreal and magical about it.”

Born into a musical dynasty, his uncle Bill Roachford was a virtuoso saxophonist whose claims to fame includes teaching Ronnie Scott and Femi Kuti how to play Sax. The musical ball really started to roll however, when Roachford hit the road with his uncle. Playing gigs on the jazz circuit in those days, gave him a good grounding for things to come.

“I got lucky enough to start gigging when I was about 14. I was in the middle of that whole jazz scene which was an interesting education. It taught me musically, how to listen and how to entertain. My uncle always told me that you had to give people a show.”

Cibelle biography

Although only 25 years old, Brazilian born Cibelle has already garnered many valuable years of experience in recording studios, on live stages and at the bars, clubs and restaurants that make up São Paulo’s vibrant live scene. It is often said that music is the life-blood of Brazilians: Cibelle is living proof. At the age of six she was immersed in a São Paulo conservatory studying classical music (as well as acting). Until she decided, a couple of years later, that she wanted to play music intuitively - i.e. by ear, rather than by a stuffy rule book.

“I suppose it was a bit pretentious”, she laughs. “Needless to say, it didn't work out at the time, so I started playing volleyball instead. But even then I carried on making music. I was everyone's radio in the locker room”.

Cibelle continued to study acting but found herself continually choosing roles that allowed her to sing. Her acting skills, vocal prowess and good looks helped her quickly carve a career in television as well as making her a natural choice for radio advertisements. At the tender age of seventeen, she was composing her own songs in her head, writing poetry like crazy and began to discover the alluring charms of São Paulo’s burgeoning ‘jam’ scene.

“I was kind of helped into it,” recalls Cibelle with a wistful smile. “One helper was an ex-boyfriend whose family were musicians and used to have jam sessions at the house each week. I would join in with them and they would often ask me why I didn’t do something professionally. Another friend was an Australian girl living in São Paulo. She was also a singer and introduced me to the local spots where we could watch jam sessions and hang out with the musicians. One day I went to a gig with her, and she told me there was going to be a special guest. When it was time to introduce the guest, she stepped up to the microphone, pointed at me and said “Ela Canta”...

And sing she did - nightly. For the next couple of years, Cibelle continued acting, modelling and writing poetry in the day, but threw herself wholeheartedly into music in the evenings, putting in guest appearances at any bar that would give her the chance to perform.

One night, Cibelle ended up on stage with a tall, mysterious Serbian-born producer known as Suba. They didn't know each other but after just one performance together, knew they had something special. They arranged to meet the next day. Suba played Cibelle the music he had been working on for an album and a musical marriage was born. “It was this crazy samba stuff with all these cool synths,” recalls Cibelle. “It was exactly what I had been looking for. I knew I wanted that sound”.

Tragically, Suba passed away in a fire in 1999, but his ever-adventurous musical spirit lives on through Cibelle, who has dedicated her debut album to him.

Kurt Elling biography

Elling is an eight-time GRAMMY nominee who has spent the last nine consecutive years at the top of the Down Beat Critics poll and the last four consecutive years winning the JazzTimes Readers’ poll. He has won five Jazz Journalists Association Awards for Best Male Vocalist and the Prix Billie Holiday from the Academie du Jazz in Paris. His quartet tours the world continually, performing to critical acclaim in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Asia and Australia, and at jazz festivals and concert halls across North America. In addition to leading a regular quartet that features collaborator Laurence Hobgood, Kurt Elling has spent recording and/or performing time with an array of artists that includes Terence Blanchard, Dave Brubeck, The Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra, Benny Golson, Jon Hendricks, Fred Hersch, Charlie Hunter, Al Jarreau, David Liebman, Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, Marian McPartland, The Bob Mintzer Big Band, Mark Murphy, John Pizzarelli, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and The Yellowjackets. He has written multi-disciplinary works of art for The Steppenwolf Theater and by commission for the City of Chicago. Kurt Elling is a former National Trustee and National Vice Chairman of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (The GRAMMYS) and has been artist-in-residence for the Monterey Jazz and the Singapore Music Festivals.

Kurt Elling’s rich baritone voice spans four octaves and displays an astonishing technical facility and emotional depth. Elling has an awesome command of rhythm, texture, phrasing, and dynamics, often sounding more like a virtuoso jazz musician than a mere singer. His repertoire ranges from his own compositions to modern interpretations of standards, both of which can be the springboard for free form
improvisation, scatting, spoken word and poetry. As composer and lyricist, Elling has written scores of his own compositions and set lyrics to the songs and improvised solos of many jazz masters. In addition to the compositional work he has done with collaborator-in-chief Laurence Hobgood, Elling has collaborated in the creation of new pieces with John Clayton, Fred Hersch, Bob Mintzer, Charlie Hunter and Orbert
Davis, among others.

One of Kurt Elling’s major contributions is as a writer and performer of vocalese, the art of writing and performing words over the recorded improvised solos of jazz artists. Elling often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Proust, Kerouac, Rumi, Neruda and Kenneth Rexroth into his work. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, and Jon Hendricks, Elling is the contemporary voice of vocalese, setting his own deeply spiritual and compelling lyrics to the solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, Dexter Gordon, Pat Metheny, and others. Responding to the work, no less a poet than the late Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit.” Elling’s lyrics were published in a book entitled LYRICS by Circumstantial Press in 2007.

Kurt Elling has been featured in profiles for CBS Sunday Morning, for CNN, and in hundreds of newspaper and magazine reviews and articles. The Washington Post declared, “Since the mid-1990s, no singer in jazz has been as daring, dynamic or interesting as Kurt Elling. With his soaring vocal flights, his edgy lyrics and sense of being on a musical mission, he has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz.” Said Jazzreview.com, “This is a singer of supreme confidence, a vocalist at the top of his game and a true master of jazz vocalese.” The Chicago Tribune decided that “Kurt Elling is going to change many listeners’ minds on the meaning and purpose of Jazz singing.”


Roachford

Kirsty Almeida

Kirsty Almeida

Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams

Cibelle

Natalie Merchant

Sarah Jane Morris

Sarah Jane Morris

Kurt Elling

Sheila Jordan

Sheila Jordan

Ernie Watts


Recommended
Listening

 

Krystle Warren - Circles Roachford - Permanent  Shade of Blue Natalie Williams - Secret Garden Sarah Jane Morris - Where It Hurts
Kurt Elling - Nightmoves Cibelle- The Shine Of Dried Electric Leaves Natalie Merchant - Motherland Sheila Jordan - Portrait

 

 

Further
Recommended
Viewing

Click the images below to see Kurt Elling with Richard Galliano And the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra 2011...
Kurt Elling @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club 2009...
Kurt Elling @ the Queen Elizabeth Hall 2008...
Kurt Elling @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club 2006...

Kurt Elling with Richard Galliano And the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra 2011 (click to go to this page) Kurt Elling  @ the Pizza Express Jazz Club 2009 (click to go to his page) Kurt Elling  @ the Queen Elizabeth Hall 2008 (click to go to his page) Kurt Elling @ the Pizza Express Jazz Club 2007 (click to go to his page)

Go back to the London Jazz Festival 2009 home page.

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