Cherise Adams-Burnett at The Royal Albert Hall for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Cherise Adams-Burnett

 

Words: Flora Neighbour

If you’re looking to ease yourself into jazz, look no further than Cherise Adams-Burnett. Performing for the second time during EFG London Jazz Festival, the 23-year-old took to the stage in front of an intimate audience fuelled with anticipation and excitement. Kicking off the night, Cherise glided through the audience in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall in her floaty, white dress, looking ethereal, confident and ready to perform.

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett performing at The Elgar Room in The Royal Albert Hall

 

The first half saw Cherise accompanied by Gabriel Piers-Mantell on the piano, Olly Sarkar on the drums, and Louis van der Westhuizen on the double bass. Playing music from her forthcoming album – out next year – Cherise treated the audience to an insight into her love life and the trials and tribulations of a past relationship. Taking influence from Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae, the music felt vulnerable and poetic. However, what Cherise lacks in age, she also lacks in experience, and often the words sounded a little contrived. Although her youthful energy and multi-faceted repertoire helped bring variety to her performance of Pretenders, her talent and vocal abilities took centre stage over the lyrics. The audience, however, lapped it up and we saw Cherise finish the first half of the set performing earthy, soulful tracks with classical influences and the odd, extremely impressive, scat.

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett performing at The Elgar Room in The Royal Albert Hall

 

The second half of the evening saw Cherise joined on stage by Ife Ogunjobi on the trumpets, a string quartet and backing singers for a big band sound. Bringing up the tempo, the more upbeat half had a very different feel to the first, and I could see Cherise’s famed neo soul and R&B influences making an entrance. I could feel the audience tapping their feet to the tracks performed, enjoying Cherise as she sung in harmony with the backing vocalists and occasionally played her flute – once again, showing off her conservatoire training. The hazy, smoky lights were dimmed red and the room channelled the late-night jazz sessions many of the audience hoped for. Overall the evening was a wonderful showcase of talent from everyone involved. An eclectic mix of genres and a very youthful affair, the performance perhaps lacked that rough experience that comes with time. I look forward to Cherise perfecting her own sound with her distinctive, beautiful voice. Give Cherise time to grow and she’ll flower into a deeper shade of blues.

 

Kandace Springs at Southbank Centre for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Kandace Springs

Kandace Springs

Sounds the trumpets! The EFG London Jazz Festival has officially begun, and, this Saturday, we headed to the Southbank Centre to see Kandace Springs perform her soulful tracks to a packed-out audience.

The 10-day celebration hopes to provide audiences with a mixture of renowned artists and emerging stars from the world of Jazz. The popular event will see artists such as Camilla George, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra bring jazz to the forefront of London culture this winter. Kicking things off, Kandace Springs channelled her inner Dusty Springfield for a wonderful end to the first week. However, we were also treated to opening act AJ Brown and his Elton John-esqe piano renditions.

You wouldn’t be the only one to mistake Yorkshire-born AJ Brown for an American cruise ship performer. His upbeat, popular performances had strong Burt Bacharach influences (who he’s actually performed with), and his charismatic charm had the audience tapping their feet. His powerful voice carried around the newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, performing his own tracks as well as many of his idols, including Luther Vandross. Closing his set with a ballad version of Latch by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, AJ Brown revealed his vocal talents, hitting all the high notes with ease. Although, it may have not been the jazz I was expecting (the style of Michael Buble with the reach of Tom Jones), he definitely got the audience alert and ready for the next act – Kandace Springs.

Kandace Springs performing at the Southbank Centre for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

The late and great Prince once said that Kandace Springs ‘has a voice that could melt snow’, and he wasn’t wrong. Captivating from start to finish, the wonderful Kandace Springs from Nashville, Tennessee performed an amazing set of meaningful and beautiful songs. Alongside the two-piece band, comprising the double bass and the drums, Kandace brought new tracks, her favourite songs and anecdotes of growing up with her father (also a jazz musician), Scat Springs, to the stage.

Kandace’s voice sounds like an old soul, despite her young age. Her husky, dulcet tones are mesmerising and send you into another world. Her range, however, was outstanding and she made sure she performed tracks to showcase her vocal repertoire. Performing songs by Dusty Springfield, Nina Simone and many other talented jazz musicians, Springs also performed her new single Fix me, which was an amalgamation of R&B, pop, jazz and classical genres – Chopin is one of her most-loved composers. Springs’ music was full of classical inspiration, merging well with her love of jazz. A welcoming and upbeat concert, by the end I felt like I knew the singer well. Kandace Springs is one to watch.

 

To book tickets to other shows in the EFG London Jazz Festival, head to efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 launch party

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Words: Flora Neighbour

Monday saw the crème de la crème of the jazz world get together for the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 launch party. A boozy affair in the low-lit, ground-floor Crystal Room at The May Fair Hotel, the evening was packed full of entertainment and speeches from big names in jazz and blues, hosted by BBC 3’s Jumoké Fashola. People gathered together, chatted, networked and caught up with old friends who hadn’t been seen since last year’s revelry. The evening was a constant buzz of excitement and the fancy dress photo booth definitely added to it with pictures being taken towards the end of the night.

Kicking things off, Chairman of the festival’s sponsor EFG, John Williamson, spoke of the tireless efforts and amazing performances the festival produces, while also announcing the continuation of their sponsorship of the London Jazz Festival for another five years, adding: “2018 marks the 10th anniversary of our partnership with the London Jazz Festival, during which time we have seen the festival go from strength to strength. As an organisation, we aspire to share and celebrate the distinctive qualities which make jazz such an exceptional art form, embracing creativity and innovation, freedom of individual and collective expression, diversity and collaboration. Through our sponsorship programmes we also strive to help up and coming talent establish their voice on a global stage.”

 

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Alex Davis, Cherise Adams-Burnett, Rob Luft, Claire Whitaker, John Williamson, Claire Mera-Nelson, Jumoke Fashola, Corrie Dick, Camilla George and James Stirling. Image credit: Tatiana Gorilovsky

 

Giving the party a boost of much-needed youthfulness, Cherise Burnett-Adams took to the stage with Rob Luft supporting her on guitar to perform for the crowds in-between speeches. This year will be Cherise’s first festival, so I took this opportunity to talk to the singer. Speaking about her excitement at performing this November, she added: “I always knew that singing was a passion of mine and wanted to learn more about it, but all of the other genres, like pop, were tailored towards the commercial side of the industry, so I decided to go down the jazz route. Jazz isn’t about the hype or fame, it’s about creating good music with good people.

“The London Jazz Festival has also created an opportunity for me, with the celebration of the Windrush generation, to connect to my grandparents. All four of my grandparents came over in the sixties from Jamaica, but they didn’t talk about their experiences. So, I sat down with my grandma and spoke to her and decided to put on a separate show about her story, which is called Evelyn and the Yellow Birds. The performance tells her personal story about bravery, preparation and how she uprooted her entire life. It also explains how she found a sense of community through music during lonelier times.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 and can’t wait to perform my music at The Royal Albert Hall on the 21st November.”

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett at EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Cherise Adams-Burnett

 

Not only can you see Cherise’s homage to the Windrush generation, other concerts created for the festival include Windrush: A Celebration, presented by Anthony Joseph, which features Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose and Brother Resistance, and Orphy Robinson’s Astral Weeks, with Zara McFarlane and Sarah Jane Morris.

Still London’s largest city-wide festival, with more than 2,000 artists with 325 performances in 70 venues across the capital, the music week promotes inclusivity and diversity, with artists from around the world flying in from the 16th November. Make sure you check out the online programme which includes dates for Archie Shepp, Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya, as well as Hollywood hero Jeff Goldblum and his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.

So, give a jazz hand to the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 and get yourself to a concert in November.

 

For more information, visit www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk