Photo Credit: Brian O’Connor
Juliet Kelly writes:
The Pizza Express Jazz Club is one of my favourite venues. It’s an intimate setting that really suits the “up close and personal” feel of our performance. I’m really looking forward to playing there again on the 14th of July (12-3pm) with Kate Williams – and as it’s Bastille Day I may even slip in a song in French to mark the occasion!
Apart from a few gigs when first starting out as a jazz singer, I’ve mostly focused on performing my own material. One of my early forays into songwriting was when I was studying at the Guildhall and I put lyrics to Horace Silver’s The Mohican and the White Spirit. Later on I released my début album Aphrodite’s Child which contained almost all original music and lyrics I’d written. I received widespread praise for my songwriting and knew then that it would always be where my heart is. Having said that, I absolutely love jazz standards and two years ago, I decided it was time to pay tribute to the great singers that inspired and influenced me when I began singing. I’m an “accidental” jazz singer and didn’t grow up singing or listening to jazz but once I heard it I was hooked! Icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone and Bille Holiday got me addicted to this exciting, unknown (to me) genre of music so I came up with the title Celebrating the Divas of Jazz and set about the difficult task of choosing material. Audiences have loved the selection. Well-known songs are interspersed with lesser known gems in what I hope is both an informative and entertaining way.
Kate Williams and I met when we were both teaching jazz workshops at Richmond Adult Community College. She appeared as a guest on my second album Delicious Chemistry and I knew that she and I would work really well together as a duo to tour the project around the UK. I put in a proposal to various rural touring schemes and have been very fortunate to receive lots of booking requests. Kate and I have had a lot of fun performing in village halls and community centres in some of the most beautiful parts of rural England. There have been many sold out gigs and we’ve had amazing audience feedback. We’ve walked (and got lost) along the Pennine Way, almost got stuck in a ford (ditch not car make) in Cumbria and surprisingly (or not if you know me) we’ve also done quite a bit of shopping! However, I have yet to find that elusive pair of sequined wellies that no self-respecting glam jazz singer should be without.