We Love Ella Tribute
Featuring Jamelia, Lea DeLaria, Claire Martin, David McAlmont,
Roberts, Ian Shaw, Terri Walker, Melody Gardot & Lizz Wright
@ Southbank Centre / Royal Festival Hall
16 November 2007
Click an image to enlarge.
Lea DeLaria - biography
Lea DeLaria, who already enjoyed a career as a
Broadway singer and stand-up comedian, made her recording Warner
Bros. debut in 2000 with the album “Play It Cool”. Her
second album, “Double Standards”, received rave reviews
in the UK and US press.
DeLaria’s UK jazz live dates have included the London Jazz
Festival (2001 and 2007), Brighton’s Komedia, as well as several
sold-out residencies at Pizza Express, and Pizza On The Park. She
has also appeared at the New York City JVC, the Montreux Jazz Festival,
and as the featured vocalist of The 50th Anniversary of The Newport
Jazz Festival Tour.
Delaria is the first openly gay comic to appear on national television
in the United States ( Arsenio Hall, 1993) from this point forward
she has toured the world with her one-of-a-kind blend of cool jazz
and in your face comedy.The United States Congress officially criticised
Delaria in 1993, but this has not stopped her winning accolades
including Muff Diva - Best Of The Fest (Edinburgh 1993) and Best
Live Performance (Backstage Award 1999). Her work for television
has also recieved acclaim, including the 1994 Regional Emmy for
her performaces on Chanel 4 UK Television. Delaria was also awarded
the 1999 Glama award for role in
Delaria continues to tour, performing at major
festivals and clubs worldwide. She continues to impress critics
and woo fans with her voice, she also continues to cross boundaries
with her no take prisoner comedy approach.
Claire Martin biography
Growing up in a house full of music in Wimbledon,
South London, Martin learned all of Judy Garland’s songs by
the time she was 12. But it was hearing Ella Fitzgerald’s
legendary “Song Books” that changed her life inspiring
her to go to Stage School and then to study singing in London and
New York. A further seminal moment came at 18 when she saw the great
improvising singer Betty Carter at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club.
It confirmed what she already felt - she had to be a jazz singer.
At 21, Martin formed her first quartet (featuring
guitar-great Jim Mullen). Linn Records signed her in 1991, the start
of a creative relationship that is still going strong today. Martin’s
1992 debut “The Waiting Game” scored rave reviews and
was chosen as a Times Album of the Year. Martin achieved one of
her ambitions later that year, opening for Tony Bennett at the Glasgow
International Jazz Festival.
By the mid-nineties Martin had received the Rising Star and Best
Vocalist awards at the British Jazz Awards while receiving rave
reviews on her American debut with four sell-out shows in Washington
DC. Another ambition was fulfilled with the recording of a live
album at Ronnie Scott’s in 1995.
Martin has continued to gather awards, winning
the Best Vocalist category for the fourth time at the 2002 British
Jazz Awards and Best Vocalist at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2003.
Martin and her band regularly tour the Far East,
Europe and Australia and was the first jazz group to perform in
Vietnam. She also performs regularly with Girl Talk (alongside Mari
Wilson and Barb Jungr). She can also be found performing with the
Halle Orchestra and the Laurence Cottle Big Band. Martin also finds
time to work as a broadcaster, working as co-presenter of Jazz Line-Up
on BBC Radio 3 interviewing the likes of Michael Brecker, Andre
Previn, and the occasional terrified young singer.
Juliet Roberts biography
Roberts was weaned on music from as far back as
she can remember. Both of her grandfathers were drummers while her
father, a Grenadian immigrant, was the guitarist in a calypso band
called the Nightingales. Their rehearsal space was at the family
home so her childhood was marked by easy access to guitar, piano
and trumpet. Juliet found that her true instrument was the most
natural one – the voice- and started to develop as a singer
in her teens.
It was in the mid-80s that Roberts came to the
attention of many through her work with a new generation of young
jazz warriors such as Courtney Pine and her contribution to Working
Week. She was also to be heard on a variety of sessions for genre-defying
artists such as Yargo and then in the 90s she recorded a string
of highly successful garage singles.
As comfortable as she was in the dance music arena,
she never forsook her love of jazz and got a band together with
the veteran bassist/DUNE records head honcho Gary Crosby for a series
of gigs at the Jazz Cafe in London. This informal induction to the
DUNE family subsequently led to a collaboration with saxophonist
Denys Baptiste on his Be Where You Are and Alternating Currents
albums. Then came an appearance on Jazz Jamaica All Stars’
Massive. A solo Juliet Roberts album was a logical progression.
Ian Shaw biography
Named Best Jazz Vocalist at the BBC Jazz Awards
in 2007 and 2004, Ian Shaw has already amassed a number of highly
acclaimed albums and is a popular performer both in the UK and the
Shaw’s career in performance began unusually
for a jazz musician on the Alternative Cabaret Circuit, alongside
such performers as Julian Clary, Rory Bremner and Jo Brand. Shaw
was spotted by Dave Illic, jazz critic for “City Limits”
and was described as “the voice of the decade”. In the
next few years Shaw moved from the singer-pianist format to working
with his new band to an eventual move into jazz. Shaw has toured
extensively in the UK, Europe and the States, his appearances on
TV included guesting with Jools Holland, Top of the Pops, The Jack
Dee Show, Christmas Night with the Stars (BBC), C4’s The Happening,
TVAM, BBC Breakfast Show, BBC 2’s A Night of Love, BBC 2’s
Jazz at the 606 and, more recently, numerous appearances on the
Performance and Artsworld channels.
His collaborators over the years have included:
Guy Barker, Mari Wilson, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Iain Ballamy,
Mornington Lockett, Barb Jungr, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Cedar
Walton, Joe Lovano, Joe Beck, Papa Vasquez, Lew Soloff, Geoffrey
Williams and Ray Brown.
In 2002 Shaw performed in “Jerry Springer,
the Opera”, by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee. Thomas created
the part of the warm-up man/devil for Shaw. Shaw is a regular on
BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 as well as contributing to “Behind the
Mask with Alison Moyet”, a Something Else Production for Jazz
As well as presenting Big Band Special for Radio
2, Shaw co-hosted The 2004 BBC Jazz Awards with Claire Martin, during
which he picked up the Best Vocalist award.
In the summer of 2005, Shaw appeared in the new
Adrian Shergold (“Dirty Filthy Love”, “Christmas
Lights”) directed film, “Pierrepoint”, playing
Percy, alongside Tim Spall and Juliet Stevenson. The film features
a song, written by Shaw.
Terri Walker biography
London born Terri Walker was raised on a diet
of soul and jazz. Her mother listened to artists such as Aretha
Franklin, Chaka Khan Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.
After spending a brief period in Germany from
the age of 4, Walker returned to England to commence a boarding
school education. It was during her boarding school years that she
received vocal coaching, specifically in opera.
Walker’s initial training and developing
talents attracted many admirers, collaborators and production gurus
from the growing British garage scene such as TNT and 187 Lockdown.
Her more recent work has also seen commercial contributions from
the likes of So Solid’s Asher D. Such experimentation would
not sway Walker from earlier ‘rock solid input’ of old
school soul and jazz.
Walker’s acclaimed debut album “Untitled”
was released March 2003. In 2004 Walker received 4 Mobo award nominations.
2005 saw the release of more commercial offerings in the shape of
her album “Love”.
Terri Walker contributes lyrically to much of her work, and like
many conscious musicians, she takes pride in the whole process.
Walker has gone from strength to strength since signing to London
based Dekor Records in 2005. She is definitely her own woman.
Lizz Wright biography
Lizz Wright hails from Hahira, South Georgia. Both
her parents were ministers. Her father (a pastor) eventually formed
his own church. Apart from his regular duties, he also contributed
to the church musically by serving as pianist and musical director.
He would encourage Lizz to absorb as much as the church could offer.
As you may imagine, her childhood was definitely not ‘rule
free’: no sports, no television, no pants, no designer pantyhose
and no short hair!
Despite such a strict upbringing, Wright somehow
managed to maintain an open mind. In high school she sang with the
choir and won many competitions. She also attended Georgia State
in Atlanta to study voice at professional level. Wright gained further
experience performing at jazz nightclub Churchill Grounds. In 2000
Wright joined the much talked about In The Spirit jazz group. Two
years later she signed with the Verve record label.