(Vocal Summit at the Spice of Life. Wednesday November 17th, 7.30pm. Preview by Sarah Ellen Hughes)
A relatively new event happens during the London Jazz Festival at the Spice of Life on Cambridge Circus: Vocal Summit.
Organised by Paul Pace – winner of the 2008 Parliamentary Jazz Award for Services to Jazz – it “highlights those singers whom I consider to be the best on the scene in terms of the vocal art, individuality, and the ability to move and entertain the audience.”
Previous Vocal Summits have featured some top singers from the London jazz scene including Anton Browne, Pete Churchill, Anita Wardell, Emma Smith and Natalie Williams.
This year I’m thrilled to have been invited to sing myself, and I’ll be appearing alongside two other young singers: Emilia Martensson (above: uncredited photo from her Myspace)and Fini Bearman.
Fini – a graduate of Guildhall and Jazz-Institut Berlin – was nominated earlier this year at the London Jazz Vocalist 2010 awards; other nominees included the great Ian Shaw and Norma Winstone. In fact, at the awards evening Fini sang a number which was so compelling, one reviewer mistook it for a performance by Norma Winstone (the winner on the night).
For Emilia, this will be one of three appearances at the London Jazz Festival, the other two being at Oliver’s in Greenwich (Monday 15th) and the Green Note in Camden (Friday 19th).
Swedish-born Emilia takes much inspiration from the simple and melodic Swedish folk songs that she grew up with. She moved to England in 2000 to study at Trinity. Emilia provided haunting vocals on the sublime ‘Unresolved’ from the latest Kairos 4tet recording. These varied influences have now coalesced in a unique way, and Emilia Martensson presents a unique mix of ethereal tones, great jazz phrasing and irresistible soul inflections.
I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with these two wonderful singers.