Jazz Voice (rehearsal) featuring:
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Georgie Fame, Jacqui Dankworth,
Natalie Williams, Vula Malinga, Emma Smith, Jacob Banks, Sachal
vasandani & Ian shaw
@ the Barbican Centre
14 November 2014
Click an image to enlarge.
Jacqui Dankworth biography
Jacqui Dankworth is one of the most highly regarded vocalists
in the UK. She is also an accomplished actor, having performed leading
parts with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre and
in London’s West End - such as in Steven Sondheim’s
“Into The Woods” playing Cinderella and in Sophisticated
Ladies - a celebration of the music of Duke Ellington and In Les
Liaisons Dangereuse with the RSC . In 2012 Jacqui appeared as Rosa
in the second series of The Borgia’s starring Jeremy Irons
on Showtime TV and is in the film 'Les Miserables’ directed
by Tom Hooper.
She has collaborated and worked with many diverse musicians including
The Brodsky Quartet and Courtney Pine, Marvin Hamlisch, Paloma Faith,
Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Gretchen Parlato, Clare Teale, Georgie
Fame, David Gordon, Charlie Wood, Gregory Porter, The BBC Big Band,
RTE, LSO and RPO Orchestras and the legendary Chick Corea.
2014 has been a busy year so far with many performances in theatres
and festivals around the UK . She has been recording with The Butterfly
Wing Project (with pianist David Gordon, violinist Chris Garrick
and cellist, Ben Davies), co-producing her husband Charlie Wood’s
new album ( “New Souvenirs” ) to be released on their
own label Perdido Records and will be headlining with The Liverpool
Philharmonic and Big Band on NYE 2014/15 performing “Songs
Of Stage And Screen.”
Vula Malinga biography
Born in the United States to South African parents, she was raised
in Hackney, London. Her religious parents supported her singing
talents by allowing her to join the church choir, which resulted
in her becoming one of lead singers for the London Community Gospel
This brought her to the notice of Basement Jaxx, with whom she sang
lead on their single “Oh My Gosh.” The collaboration
continues to this day, and led to her supporting fellow Basement
Jaxx singer Sam Sparro on his tour.
In 2007, Malinga sang lead locals on BBC South’s re-recording
of the hymn “Amazing Grace,” created to help mark the
200 years since the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade
Act. In 2008, Malinga began developing her own music under her own
record label, DivaGeek Records, releasing her first single “Wondering
Why” in October.
In 2009, she sang support vocals to Dizzee Rascal on his new album
“Tongue N' Cheek,” and has supported him on live appearances,
including: Live Lounge, Later... with Jools Holland and the 2009
BBC Electric Proms.
Emma Smith biography
Having already shared the stage with the likes of Dame Cleo Laine,
the late Sir John Dankworth and with a 2010 nomination for ‘jazz
vocalist of the year’ alongside Norma Winstone and Christine
Tobin, 21 year old Emma Smith is already an accomplished jazz singer.
At age 14 she had her first taste of big band singing with the
Glenn Miller outfit ‘The String of Pearls Orchestra’.
She began to tour frequently with the band and received practical
training in being a jazz musician. Having come from a family of
musicians and composers, Emma decided to follow in her father’s
footsteps and join the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. At only 15
she was made NYJO’s female vocalist and vocal coach; a chair
sponsored by Cleo Laine and the Wavendon Foundation.
At 16, Smith’s reputation as an up-and-coming talent led
her to become increasingly in demand. She began playing extensively
in many of London’s top jazz venues, including Ronnie Scott’s,
The 606, The Vortex, Pizza Express Dean Street, The Spice of Life
and Pizza on the Park. She has also played numerous jazz festivals,
including the Oxford Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival and
The London Jazz Festival. In 2009, she was invited to be part of
the Vocal Summit at the London Jazz Festival, which featured Smith,
Natalie Williams and Anita Wardell.
April 2009 saw Smith featured alongside Ian Shaw and Madeline Bell
with the Guy Barker Big Band and the BBC Concert Orchestra. The
show, entitled ‘The Billy Strayhorn Story,’ was aired
on BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night is Music Night.’
Smith prepared extensively for the broadcast in order to portray
the personalities of Eartha Kitt, Rosemary Clooney and Ruth Ellington.
Smith has been privileged enough to have performed with some of
her idols. In June 2009, she received coaching from Sir John Dankworth
and performed the notoriously difficult ‘Shakespeare Suite’
with John and his band.
Ensemble singing has recently become a major part of Smiths singing
and writing. Since attending the Academy, mentor Pete Churchill
invited her to join the ‘London Vocal Project.’ She
is delighted to be part of this extraordinary ensemble, and she
was lucky enough to be involved in a project with renowned composer
Roger Treece which resulted in a performance with Bobby McFerrin
at the Barbican Centre, London.
Jacob Banks biography
Jacob Banks is a 21 year old from Birmingham who plays a range
of instruments. Having just graduated with an engineering degree
most would expect Banks to pursue a career in that field but Banks
(who started singing at the start of 2011) has dreams that lie in
a different place.
In April 2011 Banks entered a competition to complete a session
with Plan B and uploaded an acoustic performance of a song that
he wrote in 20 minutes. He ended up winning the competition out
of thousands of entrants. “Working with Ben (Plan B) was the
biggest motivation I could ever receive as he was only meant to
spend a couple hours with me but stayed for 24 hours and invited
his band to come to the session” Banks reminisced. He now
knew that if he wanted to be a singer, however, he knew that needed
to work much harder.
Winning the competition led to Banks to be on a billboard campaign
across Birmingham with Plan B, “I didn’t tell my mother
as she didn’t want me to pursue a career in but she saw a
billboard in town and called me in shock”. Since then Banks
has been recording his EP and performing which includes supporting
Daley and Plan B.
Sachal Vasandani biography
One of the most startling artistic revelations of 2007 is New
York-based vocalist-songwriter-bandleader Sachal Vasandani who makes
his Mack Avenue Records debut with the exceptional CD, Eyes Wide
Open. Indeed, the title says it all: This 12-song collection of
stirring originals and smart covers is an eye-opener to a fresh,
young talent who displays a singular, deep-brewed voice and possesses
an uncanny sensibility to straddle the fine line between jazz and
pop. Vasandani is in the company of his established trio (performing
together since 2001) comprised of pianist Jeb Patton, bassist David
Wong and drummer Quincy Davis. Guests on the CD include vibraphonist
Stefon Harris, trumpeter Marcus Printup and guitarist Doug Wamble.
The album is produced by esteemed bassist-bandleader John Clayton
and veteran staff producer Al Pryor, engineered by Joe Ferla and
mastered by Bob Ludwig.
Vasandani was born in Chicago and grew up in a household where
all kinds of music was appreciated, from western and Indian classical
to the pop of the day including Michael Jackson and the Beatles.
His parents also listened to jazz “from Ellington to Keith
Jarrett” which piqued Vasandani’s curiosity about the
music. At the University of Michigan, in addition to majoring in
economics, he earned degrees in jazz and classical music. He was
named Collegiate Jazz Vocalist of the year by DownBeat in 1999,
after which he moved to New York to pursue a career as a singer.
While he first took a job as an investment banker on Wall Street,
essentially subsidising his passion, Vasandani later quit to devote
himself to music full time, hustling gigs at such venues as Cleopatra's
Needle and later the Zinc Bar. One of his big breaks came when he
had the opportunity to display his talent at the Monk Competition;
another break was being enlisted by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
in 2005 to perform trombonist Ron Westray's “Chivalrous Misdemeanors,”
which was jazz inspired by the fictional character Don Quixote,
at Rose Theater. “There wasn’t any one turning point,”
says Vasandani, who was signed to Mack Avenue Records in 2006. “It
was a process with a lot more refining than defining moments.”
As for his home base in New York, Vasandani says it’s the
perfect place for him to be. “I'm connected to a bit of the
jazz scene, but there's also such a cross-pollination of different
kinds of music here. I'm looking forward to expanding my reach to
establish myself and my voice as well as explore all the different
scenes here. There are so many fantastic elements of New York that
I want to put through my own filter.”