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Becca Stevens

Elaine Delmar

Jazz Voice (rehearsal) featuring:
Becca Stevens, Elaine Delmar, Foxes, Jarrod Lawson, Joe Stilgoe, Liv Warfield,
Nicki Wells and Rebecca Ferguson
@ the Barbican Centre
13 November 2015

Click an image to enlarge.

Elaine Delmar biography

Born in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, England, Delmar was raised in a musical environment in North London. Her father, Jamaican-born trumpeter Leslie ‘Jiver’ Hutchinson and mother, Phyllis, came to Britain in the mid-30’s and Leslie became a much-loved musical influence in the 40’s and 50’s as a jazz soloist and band leader. Delmar was undoubtedly influenced by her musical surroundings and remembers warmly a household bustling with visiting musicians playing, rehearsing and talking about music or simply listening to the sounds of Basie, Ellington, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald or Nat King Cole from her father’s record collection. Her mother Phyllis was renowned for her hospitality and for keeping a warm and stable household which Elaine feels has grounded her to this day.

Brought up in North London, the eldest of three children, brother lvor and sister Maria, Elaine was educated at Rhodes Avenue Junior School and then Trinity Grammar School, Wood Green. She studied classical piano privately from the age of 6, completing the Associated Board Exams and becoming a well-recognised face on the North London Music Festival circuit. Delmar actually made her first broadcast at 13 on BBC radio’s Children’s Hour. Whilst still at school at the age of 16, she became a singer with her father’s band at functions and at US Air Force Bases around Britain until his untimely death in a car accident in 1959.

Delmar’s first legitimate stage appearance was in a revival of Finian’s Rainbow in the late 50’s at the New Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool. She then became a member of a group called The Dominoes before starting her solo career on the working men’s club circuit, mainly in the north of England and touring overseas in cabaret. From the early ‘60s, Delmar made several appearances on the London stage in such musicals as No Strings, Cowardly Custard and Bubbling Brown Sugar (with Billy Daniels), The Wiz and Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood (1985) which marked the centenary of the composer’s birth. This show ran both in London and on Broadway after which Elaine made her New York cabaret debut at the Ballroom in New York.

In the 80’s Delmar toured Britain in a series of composer tribute concerts: Swinging on 10th Avenue (Gershwin Tribute with Georgie Fame) Let’s Do It (Cole Porter Tribute with Paul Jones) Hooray For Hollywood (Berlin, Porter and Gershwin with Paul Jones) and Thank You Mr. Gershwin (Gershwin Tribute). By George, It’s Gershwin, another Gershwin tribute, took Delmar on a tour of New Zealand in 1984, this being the first of many successful trips to the land of Kiwi's.

Elaine Delmar’s recording career began in the early 60’s when she recorded various albums for one of her early champions, producer Denis Preston of Lansdowne Records. The first was an EP titled “A Swinging Chick” featuring the wonderful talent of Victor Feldman. Amongst her other albums, Delmar has also released the highly-acclaimed “Elaine Sings Wilder,” a tribute to one America's lesser known composers, Alec Wilder. This album has become something of a collector’s item. The pianist and musical director on this record was Colin Beaton, one of Delmar’s mentors and early musical influences. She later went on to make a double album for Denis Preston entitled “Elaine Delmar and Friends” featuring Tony Coe, Alan Branscombe, Eddie Thompson and Pat Smythe, another great influence on Delmar's musical life.

Elaine Delmar’s more recent recordings “S’Wonderful, Nobody Else But Me” and “But Beautiful” have all featured Brian Dee, the much-respected jazz pianist and accompanist with whom Delmar has been working for the past 20 years. Strangely enough Delmar and Dee first met when Delmar was still a teenager and he would visit her home with his father. In the late 70’s Delmar played the part of the Bohemian Princess in Ken Russell’s film Mahler, the film biography of Gustav Mahler. In 1983 she appeared at London’s National Theatre in David Hare’s highly acclaimed play, Map of the World.

Elaine Delmar’s musical path has taken her in many directions. She has made numerous radio and television broadcasts and concerts singing with small groups, big bands and symphony orchestras around the world, starring with Michel Legrand, Stephane Grappelli, Andy Williams, Benny Carter and Herb Ellis to mention but a few. Equally at home in a concert hall, night club or theatre, Delmar thrives on communicating with her audience. In 2006 she was nominated for the Radio 2 ‘Artist of the Year’ in the BBC Jazz Awards.

Foxes biography

Louisa Rose Allen (born 29 April 1989), better known by her stage name, Foxes, is an English singer and songwriter. Her vocals featured on Zedd’s 2013 single “Clarity,” which peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording.

Foxes’ debut album, “Glorious,” was released in the United Kingdom in 2014 and features the top 20 singles “Youth,” “Let Go for Tonight” and “Holding onto Heaven.”

Joe Stilgoe biography

Joe Stilgoe is many things. He is a pianist and occasional drummer, a jazz musician and a singer. He is an actor, a comedian, a star of stage and small screen. He has a very familiar surname, and a way with a familiar style of music that he somehow makes sound new, and fresh, and vibrant. He is a stalwart of the live circuit, and a perennially hot ticket. He plays locally and internationally (next stop Barbados). He’s made albums, the second of which, 2012’s “We Look to the Stars,” went to number one in Amazon’s jazz chart. There is a new album imminent. It’s called “New Songs for Old Souls,” and, not merely because it is traditional to say this of new albums, it’s his best one yet. He is also a new father, and the knowledge of impending fatherhood 9 months ago inspired him to write one of the stand-out tracks on the album – “Rainbows In My Teacup.”

In a way, Joe Stilgoe was born to do this: to sing, to perform. He comes from a musical family. His father, Richard, was, and remains, a national treasure, an arch satirist whose playful, clever songs were beamed into millions of homes every Sunday night on That’s Life!, during an era when it seemed the whole country was sat at home on Sunday nights watching That’s Life! His mother, Annabel Hunt, was an opera singer who often favoured singing arias over nursery rhymes to her youngest son. Joe was in fact the fifth of five children. His older siblings, who were also - purely theoretically - born to do what Stilgoe is doing now, went instead into what he calls ‘proper jobs’, i.e. university lecturers, doctors, lawyers. But Stilgoe was playing the piano at five, and still remembers his father’s performances, especially of Peter and the Wolf, and feeling utterly seduced by it.

Upon being successfully dissuaded from a life of showing homes to first-time buyers with sub-prime mortgage offers (an early ambition to be an estate agent swiftly nipped in the bud), he went to university where he studied philosophy. “But I quickly philosophised my way out of that course when I realised I was spending all my time in the music department,” he says. He switched to music, gained a 1st class degree, and then applied to the Guildhall to study jazz. “Serious jazz, beard-growing jazz,” he says. The Guildhall turned him down, and so Stilgoe, perhaps improbably, turned to Disney for help, and spent the next 12 months on Disney cruise liners, learning how to perform to a captive, and very demanding, audience. “In many ways, it was the perfect education,” he says.

He did go on to study ‘beard-growing’ jazz eventually, at Trinity College Of Music, London, where he focused on jazz voice and jazz piano. A long-time fan of Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, and, thanks to his dad’s record collection, Bill Evans, Nat King Cole and Oscar Peterson too, he spent the next few years immersing himself in music's most enduring, and richest, genre, hawking himself around the jazz clubs of London, playing wherever and whenever he could, the gig fees helping fund his studies.

He was by now proving himself quite the onstage raconteur, and was as funny in between songs as he was seamless during them. “That may have come from insecurity,” he suggests. “I always felt like I needed to make the audience laugh. It’s the comedian's thing, isn’t it: please like me?” And so by his late-20s, he found himself with a burgeoning side career, playing music - and playing for laughs - in Radio 4 favourites, The Horne Section. His quick wit would subsequently land him TV appearances on programmes like Never Mind The Buzzcocks and radio spots on The Now Show.

But this never detracted from what Joe Stilgoe was really about. Like all the best proponents of jazz, he is an intensely musical man. In 2007, he signed up with a hotshot producer who wanted to mould an unwilling Stilgoe into a popstar, and he was touted to labels keen to market him in the only way they knew how to market a jazz singer in the 21st-century: as the next Michael Buble. “If there was ever a jazz marketing board,” he says, smiling, “I would love to be involved in it. I'm not quite ready to write a book about the entire record industry just yet, but I’ve had quite a few…shall we say, interesting experiences. It seems I’ve gone into a branch of music that isn't universally popular, and which record labels seem convinced they can only have one example of on their rosters.”

But Joe was never going to be the next Michael Buble, just as he was never going to be a London Harry Connick Jr, or a taller Jamie Cullum. There was more to what he did, and does, than Sinatra-esque, finger-clicking swing. This is something he proves right across his new album with ineffable class. “I've always wanted to be a serious musician, but I also love pop music,” he says. “I’m as inspired by the song structures of Lennon and McCartney as I am Cole Porter.” New Songs for Old Souls features a selection of self-penned songs that sound both nostalgic and current. This is because, he says, “I wanted to offer a modernised version of a classic style. My process of songwriting has been inspired by the greats - Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Georgie Fame, Jerry Lee Lewis - but I want to put my own spin on that style.”

Liv Warfield biography

Liv Warfield has one of the most promising voices in alternative R&B Soul today. She has paid her dues alongside legendary artists such as Prince, B.B. King, The Roots, Dave Matthews Band, and Al Green. Her alternative R&B soul-style is inspired by her musical heroines: Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Sade and Mary J. Blige. Currently, Warfield is performing with Prince and the New Power Generation.

Nicki Wells biography

Nicki Wells is a singer/songwriter & composer who followed her 1st class honours degree in music touring as a featured vocalist in Nitin Sawhney’s band. She has already been featured on three of his studio albums and has performed in prestigious venues around the world from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera House. Wells’ singing has contributed to a number of films including Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, Renny Harlin’s The Legend of Hercules and was a featured voice in the landmark BBC series The Human Planet and the BBC documentary Wonders of the Monsoon.

As a composer in her own right Wells has scored for Tanika Gupta’s theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations in 2011, Howard Brenton’s play Drawing the Line in 2014, which played at the Hampstead Theatre receiving critical acclaim and in 2012 Nicki was an assistant composer on Khyentse Norbu’s feature film Vara: A Blessing. Most recently Wells has composed for the emerging contemporary dancer Aakash Odedra’s show Murmur which recently played at London's Royal Opera House.

Elaine Delmar

Elaine Delmar

Elaine Delmar

Foxes

Foxes

Foxes

Foxes

Foxes

Jarrod Lawson

Joe Silgoe

Joe Stilgoe

Liv Warfield

Liv Warfield

Nicki Wells

Rebecca Ferguson

Rebecca Ferguson

 


Recommended
Listening

 

Becca Stevens - Perfect Animal Elaine Delmar - Live Joe Stilgoe - New Songs For Old Souls Liv Warfield - The Unexpected

 

Further
Recommended
Viewing

Click Becca Stevens' image below to read her biography & view her photographs @ the Royal Festival Hall, 2015,
or Jarrod Lawson's image below to read his biography & see him @ the Love Supreme Jazz Fetsival, 2015,
or Rebecca Ferguson's image below to read heer biography & see her @ the the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, 2015..

Becca Stevens @ the Royal Festival Hall, 2015 (click to go to her page) Jarrod Lawson @ the Love Supreme Jazz Festiva, 2015  (click to go to his page) Rebecca Ferguson @ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, 2015 (click to go to her page)

Go back to the London Jazz Festival 2015 home page.

 Go back to the jazz gallery.

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