Vocalist Georgia Mancio took a year off from promoting the annual Revoice! Festival this year, and has been actively involved in a songwriting project with Alan Broadbent. She has also made a 12 track compilation of her own performances at Revoice! which will be released on November 26th as a CD. the launch is at Pizza Express Dean Street on Monday November 16th. She explained the background to this album release and the many collaborations it represents to Sebastian Scotney:
LondonJazz News: The background here looks interesting . You started Revoice! in 2010… and you always did a first set as a duo right from the start?
Georgia Mancio: From the start there were two central strands to ReVoice! – curating and developing my own artistic output. I always wanted to meet the artists I programmed as a fellow performer especially as (at least at the beginning) there were fewer musician run festivals. Duo supports were the most practical option (both financially and logistically) but in no way a creative compromise. The duo is an incredibly pure format and a challenge to sustain diversity.
LJN: And then when did you start recording these duos ?
GM: In 2012 – the third year. I realised there were a lot of good and interesting collaborations that I wanted to document and revisit in the calm after the ReVoice! storm! With the current sabbatical I finally had time to put something together and it’s been quite moving reliving so much of it again.
LJN: How many are on the album and what instruments / Each one with a different instrumentalist ?
GM: There are 12 different collaborations with: pianists Jason Rebello, Robert Mitchell, James Pearson, Nikki Iles and Tom Cawley; guitarist Colin Oxley; accordionist Maurizio Minardi; double bassists Andrew Cleyndert and Michael Janisch and electric bassist Laurence Cottle. Everyone knows what great singers Liane Carroll and Ian Shaw are but they are both featured here as pianists and make a very unique contribution: they know exactly what a singer needs to hear or is likely to do! I have tremendous respect for all these artists and am honoured to appear alongside them on record or in concert.
LJN: And different languages are also significant for you. What languages are you singing in here?
GM: There’s just one Italian song by Giorgio Gaber who found pop fame in the 60s and is now quite a politicised singer/songwriter. My mum was an Italian teacher and used songs to help her students learn grammar so I first heard this beautiful one – ‘Le Strade di Notte’ – as a child. It’s played with the wonderful Italian accordionist/pianist/composer, Maurizio Minardi, who creates such an evocative mood. My grasp of Italian grammar remains, however, suspect.
LJN: Where where the songs recorded ? All in the same room?
GM: All but one (at The Union Chapel) are from our sessions at The Pizza Express Jazz Club which from the start was the spiritual home of ReVoice! As I’ve said before it’s in no small part thanks to Ross Dines, the music manager there, that ReVoice! grew from 5 nights to 9 then 10 then 12 and that expansion helped me develop in all ways not least artistically.
LJN: The Pizza room can have a very different vibe from night to night…
GM: Absolutely and one of the main challenges of performing that opening set at ReVoice! has always been winning over the room who may be there to see Gregory Porter, Tuck & Patti, Carmen Lundy, Norma Winstone, Carmen Souza etc etc and not me! I always carefully considered the vibe, musical content and my counterpart in terms of how it would complement (or contrast) the headline artist. I’m very proud to say that we honestly had respectful, supportive listening audiences every single set and that includes the massive hen party who landed there one Saturday night!
LJN: Union Chapel – that’s a very different acoustic….
GM: Yes and not the acoustic I expected – much trickier with a lot of bounce back! We only did 2 nights there in 2012 with co-producers ESIP (John Ellson, Ruben Cordero with Sue Edwards and Cat Munro) but I’ll never forget the magic of performing in that atmospheric space. The album track there is ‘Sugar’ with electric bass maestro Laurence Cottle. I previously recorded it on Trapeze in 2008 so revisiting it and with a new co-written vocalese was a joy. Hopefully I’ve channelled one of my lyrical idols – Jon Hendricks.
LJN: How did you choose what to put on the album? And what to leave out?!
GM: There were I think 36 recorded sets of music so it took a while just to listen! The content was vast as was the context in that it spanned 3 years (2012-2014) during which time there were some huge changes for me, namely my father’s death in 2013. There is for sure another album in what I left out but Live at ReVoice! (volume 1?!) is perhaps the most personal reflection of where I’m at.
LJN: What’s the longest track and what was the story?
GM: ‘Willow Weep For Me’ with the brilliant Jason Rebello. I think it’s beautiful, languid and heartfelt. We had rehearsed once but never performed together before and we opened our set with this song so we were stretching out and finding the natural rhythm and flow. My dad was a real classical music connoisseur (his parents were both professional classical musicians) but he momentarily diverted into jazz with the Frank Sinatra/Nelson Riddle album ‘Only The Lonely’. So as with ‘Le Strade di Notte’ I’ve known and loved ‘Willow’ (one of the cuts) for many years.
LJN: Who’s produced the album?
GM: Bassist Andrew Cleyndert offered to mix our track ‘Fragile’ and when he sent it back I immediately asked if he would do the rest of the album. He pulled off a remarkable feat: taking all these disparate recordings and creating a homogenous and beautiful set that sounds entirely meant. Andy was one of the very first musicians to encourage me in my career and he co-produced and played on my debut, Peaceful Place, in 2003. He has also just recorded Songbook – my originals album with Alan Broadbent – for release in 2016.
LJN: You surely can’t get all these twelve in the same room on the same night. Surely….. Not even you Georgia
GM: Mmm I feel like I missed a challenge there…. ok well no not 12 but 9! I’m thrilled that so many of these old and new musical friends will be there to launch the album with me: Liane Carroll, Ian Shaw, Andrew Cleyndert, Maurizio Minardi, Tom Cawley, Robert Mitchell, James Pearson, Nikki Iles and Laurence Cottle.
LJN: Tom Cawley is well known for always having a trick up his sleeve…..
GM: Tom ambitiously suggested we write a whole set of originals for our ReVoice! performance. We had never written together before and my initial reaction was panic: how to fit that into everything else in the run up to ReVoice!? We also decided Tom would set my lyrics to music where I had only ever worked the other way around. I really disciplined myself writing every morning (another first) and the results were fascinating and liberating with a more character driven lyrical style. It’s without doubt a high point of the ReVoice! story so far that we pulled it off and I selected ‘Bendita’ for the album – a semi-imagined tale of my Uruguayan great-great-grandmother who had 17 children and eventually relocated to Italy.
To be continued….
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