WatkissNet | The new home of Cleveland Watkiss online

CW@ Gateshead International Jazz Festival (GIJF) 2009 March 20-23

CW, Sheila Jordan, Ian Shaw, Backstage @SAGE 2009

CW, Sheila Jordan, Ian Shaw, Backstage @ SAGE 2009

My first visit to The Sage Gateshead was in 2008 as part of the Singup program (working with primary school

children teaching Jazz Singing with my Trio)… the Sage is a beautifully designed Music venue, within walking distance of our hotel the Hilton.

My Curtains were left open the entire time for my four night stay as the view was spectacular!

I had three days of activity’s for the festival:

first day, in Hall (1), i sang three numbers with Guy barker’s Orchestra and the Northern Sinfonia playing a program of Ellington/Strayhorn.

one of the songs ‘Lush Life’ by Billy Strayhorn is considered the Holy Grail of standards! Guy did a fat arrangement for this big Orchestra..of all the versions i’ve ever heard im still not convinced what the correct melody is for this song..anyways felt real good with that big sound behind me… was so glad when this musical monster was outta the way.

Second day, Hall (2),was with my regular trio ‘CWT’ Shaney Forbes (Drms) Mark Hodgson (Bass). we had a 2pm slot which was great as i love performing early in the day.

The other thing to say about the Sage is the sound in all the Four spaces are truely first class!

Hall 2 has a nice intimate theatre feel about it! we tried out a few new pieces that night which came out real good.

Ian Shaw, ‘the great british Jazz Singer/Pianist’ and good freind was up next, having every one in stitches with his humour as only he can.

Then the Fabulous Sheila Jordan with the Brien Kellog Trio!

3rd day, The Big Jazz Sing, my vocal workshops, are not just for singers but anyone interested in the voice. so there were about 30-40 in attendence from all different back grounds… we had a ball.

Back to Sheila:

This is my first time to see Sheila live and i’m totally captivated by her artistry and passion for Jazz! so hard to believe that this beautiful lady is 80 years old! she has the vibe and the spirit of someone the age of 30. and tell’s fantastic factual historical stories through song.

Ian and i had the honor of joining her for a tune, i was hooked for the rest of the festival.. watching her skillfully conduct a vocal masterclass and later on that evening perform in the Northern Rock Foundation Hall, converted into a really nice intimate jazz Lounge!

it was in this setting that i really got to hear how great her band sounded! the amazing scotish pianist Brian Kellock has to be the best vocal accompanist i’ve ever heard any where in the UK. Not many singers around anymore performing today that come from that golden period of Jazz (The Be-bop Era of the 40’s)!

i can think of Jon Hendricks, Abbey Lincoln, Andy Bey, Bill Henderson, Helen Merrill, so for me it was extra special to hangout/speak/sing with a disciple of Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker. Sheila Jordan, Here’s to another 80 years xx