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Blue Roses @ Belgique, High Road, South Woodford, IG8 9BF
Sunday October 7 @ 14:30 - 17:00Free
Join Bernice, her talented trio and guest singers for a relaxing afternoon of cool jazz, coffee and cake as she presents her version of the best-loved of the American and British songbook standards.
There is no admission charge but as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month Bernice is taking this opportunity to promote and request donations for Breast Cancer UK, a charity which works for greater recognition of the link between certain chemicals and breast cancer, which now affects 1 in 8 women.
Local singer Bernice’s love of popular music began as a child, singing along to Doris Day and Ella Fitzgerald. Once or twice on family seaside holidays, she would enter the local talent show. “I have a photo of me standing on a chair to reach the microphone,” she recalls. “Hardly the child star, the only thing I remember winning was a bottle of Lucozade – still, that was quite a novelty at the time.” Many years later, Bernice returned to public performance, forming Loose Change, a pop/soul covers band, from which emerged a duo, Double Indemnity. Almost without realising it, Bernice was gradually being drawn to jazz and blues, eventually forming Blue Roses. At Belgique she will be presenting an eclectic mix of standards, including some rarer gems. While she enjoys having fun with an up tempo number, her warm soulful voice, always sensitive to a lyric, lends extra poignancy to a torch song or ballad. She sings from the heart.
Bernice feels very fortunate to be joined by first class musicians Gabriel Keen on keyboard, Alex Keen on double bass and Geoff Seeff on tenor sax and violin, as well as guest singer Andrew Webber, whose velvet-voiced tones, while reminiscent of Chet Baker and Mel Torme, are all his own.
Gabriel Keen was classically trained at Dartington College of Arts and London College of Music. He won second prize in the 5th British Contemporary Piano Competition, and has recently recorded works by contemporary composer Brian Inglis for a CD release. He was resident pianist at Kensington Palace Hotel for three years and plays occasionally at Grosvenor House Hotel. He has played with Hot Orange Big Band, London Swingfonia and Denmark Street Big Band, and is a member of soul band The Fabulations, classic fusion band The Weatherheads, vintage swing band Radio Nights Orchestra, 10-piece jazz band Little Big Horn, the Bee Ororo band, and one of the current line-ups of the 80s pop band, Imagination, featuring Errol Kennedy. He is also an accompanist for jazz, pop and opera singing classes at the City Lit in London.
Bass player Alex Keen has accompanied Tony Coe, Dick Pearce, Noel McCalla, Jim Mullen, Henry Lowther, Anita Wardell, Alan Barnes,Jimmy Hastings, John Etheridge and Alan Skidmore. He has toured the UK extensively with quartets led by Theo Travis and Philip Clouts. Career highlights include backing Eddi Reader (at Rowan Atkinson’s wedding), George Shearing, in a masterclass for the South Bank Show, and impromptu performances by James Brown and Tony Hadley. Alex gigs and records with the Frances Knight Trio, Viper’s Dream, Graham Pike Quartet, Simon Picard Quartet, Sophie Smiles, Maiuko Fi and The Fabulations.
Geoff Seeff, tenor sax and violin, made his name on the WBF circuit (weddings, barmitzvahs and funerals – although it has to be admitted that they didn’t always start off as funerals); in fact he had to make up a new name after each gig in case anyone remembered it from a previous one. He has performed on the great platforms of Europe – Rome, Milan, Paris (Gare du Nord) and, of course, Kings Cross, and frequently in front of royalty, including the Duchess of Cambridge …..and other well known pubs. However, recognition of which he is truly proud, has come his way in recent years. The critics have acclaimed him a combination of two jazz greats, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and violinist Stuff Smith, and his adventurous and creative improvisations are invariably followed by appreciative calls of “Stan Smith” …..or something like that. Pictured is Seeff in full swing. Providing he remembers which instrument to blow and which to bow and which end to do it, the audience at Belgique should be relatively safe and, on this occasion, there should be no need to call out the riot police.
Andrew Webber (In fact A L Webber – but not that one!)
Andrew is very modest and so declined to write about himself. Instead he has offered the poem below. (Actually he plays a mean trumpet).
From two thirty to five, seventh October
You can hear jazz, swing and bossa nova.
Bernice with the Keen Brothers
And one or two others…
You’ll enjoy it, drunk or sober!
Come also to hear Webber LA.
His smooth vocals seem from another day.
With a beautiful song
He cannot go wrong.
You’d be mad to stay away!
Regarding his playing of trumpet,
It has been suggested he dumpet
But still he can ruin
A perfectly good tuin
And the audience just has to lumpet!
There’ll be a collection on the day
To support Breast Cancer UK
As with all forms of cancer
It’s high time we found an answer
So be generous with what you pay*
*donations are entirely voluntary
- Sunday October 7
14:30 - 17:00
- Event Categories:
- Blues and Soul, Charity, Children & Family Event, Jazz, Musicals, Pop, Samba, Sing Sing Sing, Singing, Social, Soul, Swing
- Event Tags:
- Cabaret, Free Events, Jazz, Live Music, Music, South Woodford Festival, Woodford Festival 2018