A profile (*) of saxophonist Camilla George, in 2017, described her as having the “golden touch”. We wanted to find out how she has been faring with lockdown, and discovered that it has given her the impetus to make real progress with a forthcoming third album:
First album you purchased as a “jazz musician”?
The first jazz album that I bought was Sonny Side Up (Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins – Verve, 1957) as my Dad had it on vinyl and used to play it all the time. I wasn’t allowed to touch his precious stereo so I bought it on CD! That album made me realise that I wanted to be involved in music – I used to sing along to the solos. The whole vibe of the album was joyous.
What are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to the new album by Braxton Cook – Fire Sign. He is one of my favourite players at the moment. I have also been listening to the new singles from In Common II featuring Walter Smith III. I’ve already pre-ordered the album so can’t wait to hear the full release!
Have you done or watched any livestream gigs/events since lockdown?
I have my first livestream gig on Friday 15 May as part of the Serious livestream events. I’m strangely more nervous about it than a normal gig! I think, overall, the livestream gigs are inspiring. I have been able to watch a lot of my favourite musicians performing in their living room and think that is amazing. I know there are some negatives, but I do think, on balance, they are a way of inspiring audiences and other music creators.
I particularly enjoyed Trish Clowes’ livestream a few weeks ago – it was a real highlight.
Most memorable incident/event in your career or education?
My most memorable experience was being asked to play with the great Jean Toussaint and Joshua Redman for the BBC programme, Jazz 625. This was an incredible honour, but also a massive kick up the backside to see the standard that I aspire to and to be in the same room and make music with two legends of the saxophone. After that gig, I really had so much to think about in terms of improvement on the instrument and my approach to music. It was such an inspiring experience.
Instrument you wish you played?
I always wished that I could have been a pianist or a vibes player – one of the two!
Has this time in isolation inspired any new creative ideas?
I feel a bit guilty for admitting that I have really enjoyed my time in lockdown. Pre-corona, I was critically behind with my third album and this time has given me the space to complete it. I am excited about this project because it has pushed me to learn new skills and technology. I have recently dabbled in the world of pedals and am enjoying learning how to use them!
What are you most looking forward to once this is over?
The thing I’m really looking forward to is giving my Mum a massive hug! We are very close and I haven’t seen her since the outbreak. I also can’t wait to see all my friends on the music scene, especially my band. It’s going to be one hell of a jam session when we can all be in the same room as each other!
A chance to plug a friend’s music right now…
I’m really digging the new EP by rapper, Lady Sanity – Lying in Truth. Sanity is such a talent – I have been fortunate to have toured with her a few times and am so excited that she will be collaborating with me on my latest album. This EP is definitely one to check!
LINKS: Camilla George website