Are you looking forward to this Friday’s Vortex Benefit in Margate?
Truthfully it’s my first time in Margate! It was David Mossman who called me up and asked if I would be interested in helping the festival and the Vortex. David is a tireless and important figure for British Jazz and I would never be able to turn him down. I love the Vortex and without it the British Jazz scene would be much poorer. It is a fearless music venue and hub for the best we have here.
Have you worked with Ian (Shaw) and Liane (Carroll) before?
I know and love both Ian and Liane very well. I would also call them influences on me. Both musicians are singers who go way beyond singing the song, though if called upon they can “torch” it up with the best of them. Ian, Liane and Claire Martin showed me early on that choosing a repertoire as a singer was of the utmost importance. Turning up with the same tired arrangements of the usual standards is no way to make your mark. Through them I learned the importance of crate digging for great songs and then putting your big muddy footprint all over them. They are incredible world class singers. I’ve shared the stage with them many times and its always an education for me. Come Saturday after the gig I shall be scuttling back to the woodshed………….spanked and inspired!
What’s coming up in your Tuesday BBC Radio 2 show?
The radio show has really become a part of my life. It is an honour to have a such a big platform to play jazz. Credit to BBC Radio 2 for not messing with the playlists. They are totally open and supportive. We have Kurt Elling in session in a couple of weeks which is so exciting for me. Also we are trying to get other shows to start injecting a little jazz into their playlists – The Bad Plus, Gregory Porter and Sara Mitra could end up getting air time elsewhere on R2.
At the Cheltenham Jazz Festival I’ve heard you’re doing a solo performance ? Is that true? What are the challenges?
I always like to do some solo shows when I’m between albums. It really helps me think differently about what I’m doing. At the moment I’m effectively staring in front of a blank sheet that needs new songs on it for album no.6. Playing solo is a huge challenge for me and that can only be a good thing!
Thanks, and enjoy Margate on Friday.