Jazz Voice (rehearsal) featuring:
Clare Teal, Jane Monheit, Omar, Annabel Williams,
Krystle Warren, Vive, Eska & Noel Mckoy
@ the Barbican Centre
15 November 2013
Click an image to enlarge.
Jane Monheit biography
Monheit has been a leading light in both the jazz
and cabaret worlds since emerging as a finalist in the Thelonious
Monk Institute’s 1998 vocal competition. In addition to her
own recordings, she has worked alongside the likes of Terence Blanchard,
Tom Harrell, and Ivan Lins. She says that the distinctive, continually
surprising sound of The Heart Of The Matter is the result of an
especially satisfying collaboration with Grammy-winning producer
Gil Goldstein, who has previously worked with such giants as Wayne
Shorter, Gil Evans, and Pat Metheny. The pair first joined forces
for part of Monheit’s 2009 album “The Lovers,”
“The Dreamers, and Me.”
“When Gil is around, amazing music happens,”
says the singer. “He brings a very specific thing…there’s
a special vibe that infuses every single thing he does. The last
time we worked together, I had a newborn, I wasn’t sleeping…I
barely knew who I was, and Gil made such magic happen that I couldn’t
wait to work with him again. And as soon as we started, it was perfect…the
very first take was “Depende De Nos”, which we ended
up using. We actually made this album even faster than my very first.”
Monheit’s passion for Brazilian music colours
a big swath of “The Heart Of The Matter”- most obviously,
in the two selections written by the great Ivan Lins. “This
music has always been a huge part of my life,” she says.
“It’s important to me that I sing in Portuguese
whenever possible, out of respect for the composer and lyricist.”
But Brazilian rhythms also reached into one of the album’s
English-language pieces- a striking version of Joe Raposo’s
Sesame Street anthem “Sing.”
“I have wanted to do a Brazilian version
of that song for my entire adult life,” Monheit says,
noting that she first needed to get past the idea that it would
be seen as a novelty. “I’m a mother now, and that
has given me the power to not care anymore…I’ll sing
any song I want, the way I want, as long as it comes from the heart.
And a lot of experience goes into that feeling, both good and bad.”
The confidence manifests most visibly with the
inclusion of Monheit’s own “Night Night Stars”,
the first song she has released for which she has written both music
and lyrics. “I don’t find time to write very often,”
she says. “This was based on something my son said on
a drive at night when he was two years old. I wasn’t sure
about using it, but Gil believed in me, and that meant a lot.”
From the song choices to the performances, “The
Heart Of The Matter” is a work deeply informed by Jane Monheit’s
life- as a woman, wife, and mother in the second decade of a remarkable
career- and it reaches emotional levels she attributes to an “extreme
comfort zone” in the recording studio. “It was a
small group, we’re all friends, and everyone really wanted
to be there,” she says. “I’m very close
with my band, so to hear Gil’s beautiful work with my family
beneath it inspired me to be completely unselfconscious… I
think I’ve finally reached my level of onstage, live interpretation
in the studio, which has always been a challenge for me.”
Omar Christopher Lye-Fook MBE (born 14 October
1968, London), known professionally as Omar, is a British soul singer,
songwriter and musician. Omar grew up in Canterbury, Kent. He learned
his craft classically, playing the trumpet, piano and percussion.
He also spent two years at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester,
and the Guildhall School of Music in London. His most well known
song was his debut single “There's Nothing Like This.”
It reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart on re-release in 1991.
Omar is described by some as ‘the father of British neo soul’.
Annabel Williams biography
Annabel Williams is a vocalist and vocal coach
based in West London. She regularly hosted her own sell out blues
night at Ronnie Scotts and is a regular on the London live music
scene. Her skills encompass lead and backing vocals both live and
in the studio. Over her 15 year professional career, she has worked
with a who's who of some of the biggest names in music including,
more recently, Alison Moyet, Cee Lo Green and Rumer.
Noel McKoy biography
Noel Mckoy is a singer from the school of soulful
story telling and social commentating, who writes from the heart
and delivers from the soul. Noel Mckoy’s raw rasping texture
from the pen to the acoustic style of production gives the dynamic
sound that will take you on a voyage of human emotion.
It is no surprise that Noel Mckoy’s artistic
development is inspired from the legendary greats such as, Stevie
Wonder, Chaka Khan, Isley Brothers, Rick James, Miles Davis and
The Beatles but it would be closer to home, which would encourage
him to sing.
It was his mother and aunt who set him off in the
right direction of singing and performing at the young age of 12
and then going on to record his first track at the age of 14. By
18 he was mastering the art of song writing and playing guitar but
it would be at a later age of 24 that he would be part of a band
named ‘Mckoy’ which, consisted of sister Junett and
two brothers Cornell and Robin.
The early 90s gave birth to the sound of Acid Jazz
and Noel Mckoy was fronting the legendary band James Taylor Quartet
(JTQ) and also collaborating and writing songs for Sir Cliff Richard
and also penning and singing the1994 BBC1 Commonwealth games theme
Noel Mckoy is without a doubt one of Britain’s
most critically acclaimed Soul Singers who’s performed and
toured the world with several UK & International acts including
the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ronald Isley, Gladys Knight, George
Clinton, Mica Paris, and Omar to name a few.
Vive is a 6-part a cappella group who are reimagining
the close-harmony jazz/ spiritual/ a cappella sound by bringing
rich, diverse harmonies with a fresh, contemporary sound, taking
inspiration from the legendary Take 6 and the Real Group.
They recently won the final of The Voice Festival
UK 2013 and were presented with the Ward Swingle Award for outstanding
originality, outstanding musicality and also best arrangement.
Vive's aspirations are to do everything they can
to help inspire a new generation of music lovers and bring back
the freshness of the human voice to the industry. They also have
a strong underlying message of perseverance, self-acceptance and
motivation, which they share through their music.