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With a repertoire based around The Great American Songbook his jazz influences were recently displayed at sell-out shows at Ronnie Scott’s in London and New York’s famous Birdland club. A brilliant gig to end a brilliant year!
Kevin Fitzsimmons is a London born jazz singer, lyricist/songwriter & producer, who s sung everywhere from well-worn local jazz clubs to glittering international occasions. He s enjoyed sell out shows at Ronnie Scotts, a one hour concert live on Jazz FM, TV appearances with his jazz band on E4 s Made In Chelsea. Kevin has entertained royalty twice and been the voice of a TV advert with Hollywood moviestar Naomi Watts. A natural lyricist (& artist/cartoonist), he also writes in collaboration with musicians, most notably with Jools Holland s saxophonist Derek Nash. He also stars in the theatre concert-show based on Frank Sinatra s iconic years with Capitol Records, Sinatra Sequins & Swing The Capitol Years Live!
At around the age of five Kevin first discovered ‘the American songbook’, singing Pennies from Heaven accompanied by his father, whose constant renditions of Gershwin, Porter and Berlin were to leave an irreversible impression. By his early twenties, Kevin found himself in the company of and performing with other like minded aficionados and their profound knowledge and musicianship helped forward his studies; they included the late American saxophonist Spike Robinson, John Critchinson (piano accompanist with Ronnie Scott at his eponymous Club), and bass player Lennie Bush – who sessioned with Frank Sinatra himself, on his album “Great Songs from Great Britain”.
Kevin performs fresh-sounding jazz standards, own jazz arrangements of iconic pop tunes & the odd self-penned song (the ones on his album were praised by Malcolm Laycock, former BBC Radio 2 Big Band presenter, who said “may I flatter you on the quality, both the music and the clever lyrics. I am impressed”). These live dates have proved very popular (his debut at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club was sold out a month prior to the date, and he’s also performed at the historic Birdland Jazz Club, off Broadway, New York), as well as receiving great feedback. Described by Jazz FM as “….his voice is an irresistible mix of Sinatra, Bennett & Buble – backed by a world class band”, Kevin’s sextet featured in their own hour long live show on Jazz FM’s Discovery Show.
This performance at Jazznights was delivered with a superb presence and this was a truly memorable experience which he performed with the Roger Odell Trio who were:
Roger Odell – Drums
Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak and the forerunner band Tracks. Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day. Apart from a great power drummer he is also a prestigious arranger. Musically, his first love was always straight-ahead contemporary jazz, and in the past he has played with many of the great names on the UK scene including Don Rendell, Barbara Thompson, Dick Morrissey, Terry Smith, Joe Harriott and countless others. Roger is the author of three technical articles which appeared in the international magazine Modern Drummer.
Steve Cook – Double Bass
Steve has a wonderful rounded tone with great clarity. In the 1960s and 70s Steve Cook played with many leading jazz artists including Don Rendell, Art Themen, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Alan Skidmore, Pete Jacobsen, Michael Garrick and numerous others. He was in several of Barbara Thompson’s bands including the Quintet, Jubiaba and Paraphernalia. He toured and recorded with progressive rock bands CMU, Gilgamesh, Seventh Wave, Mirage and Soft Machine. He worked at Ronnie Scott’s with Mark Murphy and Gil Evans. He spent several years touring and recording with the Mike Westbrook orchestra, appearing on three albums. He’s done dance bands, pit bands, and film and TV soundtracks. Recently Steve has played salsa with the Spanish Harlow Orchestra, Latin jazz with Que Pasa, and recorded albums with folk and world musicians Wes McGhee, Janie Romer and Ravi. He may occasionally be seen with the Harmony in Harlem band and the Cambridge Sinfonietta. He has also had a 35-year career as a professional software engineer.
Peter Lemer – Keyboards
Peter Lemer is an English jazz musician. He has worked with the Pete Lemer Quintet, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Annette Peacock, Harry Beckett, Gilgamesh, Baker Gurvitz Army, Seventh Wave, Harry Beckett’s Joy Unlimited, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Mike Oldfield Group, In Cahoots, Miller/Baker/Lemer. He currently works with In Cahoots, Peter Lemer Trio/Quartet, Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia, and the Peter Lemer-Billy Thompson Quartet and Duo. Peter made his recording debut as a leader (Local Colour) in 1996, the band by then including Jon Hiseman, John Surman, George Khan and Tony Reeves. A year in New York followed, which included extensive jamming, gigging and study. Coaches included famed jazz pianists Jaki Byard and Paul Bley and Double Bass guru David Walters.
He also studied at the Royal Academy of Music and included Tommy Rajnaand Sven Weber among his classical coaches. In 1969, he worked with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. In the last few years, Lemer has remained a fixture of In Cahoots – he can be heard on Parallel (1996), Out Of The Blue (2001), All That (2003) and Conspiracy Theories (2006), most of which also feature his writing – as well as playing one-off gigs with old friends Steve Cook (bass) and Roger Odell (drums), recording an album with them in Israel
Larraine Odell – vocals
Beginning her professional singing career with the group CMU with whom she recorded two albums, Larraine performed at numerous venues throughout the UK and Europe, including the Purcell Room, RFH. Boxford Fleece & Ronnie Scott’s.Larraine possesses a unique smouldering tonal quality and a subtle jazz phrasing style that has elicited great praise from two of her own vocal mentors, Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan. “A sensitive singer who exudes a fine-honed jazz sensibility with every phrase.” She has since appeared at Ronnie Scott’s Club as a member of the group Jimpster, at the Boxford Fleece with pianist Steve Lodder, most of the other jazz clubs in the region, and at the Aldeburgh, Layer Marney and Southwold Jazz Festivals.
The first of our two great vocalists Larraine Odell opened the first set which included the following numbers:
Misty (1954) Music by Erroll Garner andLyrics from Johnny Burke. (In 1954 the Erroll Garner Trio introduced the instrumental “Misty.” A year later Johnny Burke penned the lyrics)
The film Broadway Melody of 1940 introduced I Concentrate on You with words and music by Cole Porter
You Stepped Out of a Dream is a popular song with music written by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Gus Kahn that was published in 1940. The song has become a pop and jazz standard, with many recorded versions.
The 1946 song For Heaven’s Sake with words and music from Sherman Edwards, Donald Meyer and Elise Bretton
Kevin Fitzsimmons then joined the trio for his first set which included:
If I Had You was a 1928 British ballad popularized by Al Bowley
I Get A Kick Out Of You by Cole Porter in 1934
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! 1945 with composed by Jule Styne and lyrics by Sammy Cahn
Where or When by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart featured by Peggy Lee in 1941
You Go To My Head Music by J. Fred Coots and Lyrics from Haven Gillespie
Baubles, Bangles & Beads is a popular song from the 1953 musical Kismet, credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest on a melody based on works by Alexander Borodin unusually sang with a Latin rhythm.
Following the interval and the Jazznights raffle of 3 jazz cd’s and bottle of Merlot we had the traditional Jazznights sitting in spot which is open to all musicians who have an opportunity to play with the band. Tonight we had the pleasure of of Geoff Harriman on harmonica and Brian Stapley on drums playing Hit The Road Jack
Kevin Fitzsimmons then rejoined the Jazznights for his second set which included:
I’ve Got You Under My Skin is a song written by Cole Porter. Written in 1936, the song was introduced in the Eleanor Powell MGM musical, Born to Dance. Frank Sinatra first sang the song on his weekly radio show in 1946.
I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter is a 1935 popular song with music by Fred E. Ahlert and lyrics by Joe Young. It has been recorded many times, and has become a standard of the Great American Songbook.
Watch what Happens written by Michel Legrand has become jazz standard.
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore is a jazz standard with music by Duke Ellington and lyrics by Bob Russell. The tune was originally called “Never No Lament” and was first recorded by Ellington in 1940 as a big-band instrumental. Russell’s lyrics and the new title were added in 1942.
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (also known as simply “Norwegian Wood”) is a song by the Beatles, mainly written by John Lennon, with the middle eight co-written with Paul McCartney.
Bewitched (1941)AKA Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered by Richard Rodgers with Lyrics from Lorenz Hart. Benny Goodman and his Orchestra with vocal by Helen Forrest recorded this January 28, 1941.
Deed I Do is a 1926 jazz standard composed by Fred Rose with lyrics by Walter Hirsch. Notable recordings have been made by Blossom Dearie and Diana Krall.
Call Me Irresponsible is a 1962 song composed by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics written by Sammy Cahn. Always remembered by the Frank Sinatra version and it is also the name of an album by Michael Buble.
The Christmas Song (commonly subtitled “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” or, as it was originally subtitled, “Merry Christmas to You”) is a classic Christmas song written in 1944 by musician, composer, and vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells.
That’s Life is a popular song written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon and first recorded by Marion Montgomery. The most famous version is by Frank Sinatra, released on his 1966 album of the same name. Both the album and the song proved major successes for Sinatra.
The full house audience made its appreciation and enjoyment of Kevin’s performance abundantly clear, they loved Kevin’s interpretation of the great American songbook. It was beautifully sang and not just with the standard versions but with Kevin’s unique personality and unique interpretations. A wonderful evening and a great success at The Cock Inn, Clare – Jazznights new venue.
PETER KING (alto sax) will be at Jazznights on Sunday 5th January 1914
No better way to kick into 2014 than with the marvellous saxophonist Peter King. An absolute legend on the UK jazz scene he also has a peerless reputation throughout the world. Originally influenced by Charlie Parker and then inspired by John Coltrane, his playing today is the perfect blend of the two combined with his own originality.
Booking for thus gig is a must at The Cock Inn, 3 Callis St, Clare, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 8PX
8pm start. £10 admission.
Reserve seating on 01787 237653 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.