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Wendy Kirkland : Piano Divas
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Audiences recognise great jazz when they hear it, and Wendy Kirkland promises finely finessed excellence in her latest show, ‘Piano Divas’. It’ll take you on a sonic journey to the low-lit clubs of New York where jazz spills out onto street corners and music aficionados are king. Shades and cigarettes are, however, optional!
Derbyshire born and bred Kirkland began playing piano at age 10 and has continued to be a student of the genre, with influences ranging from the traditional touchpoints like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald, right through to insider favourites like Eliane Elias and Michel Petrucciani. Her voice has even been likened to Blossom Dearie, with a hint of Diana Krall. It is this commitment to the greats that has inspired her latest offering; a tribute to the very best female pianist singers of jazz expressed in Kirkland’s uniquely engaging performance style and ‘highly accomplished piano playing’ (The JazzMan).
Following the studio release of ‘Piano Divas’ in 2017, overwhelmingly positive reviews demanded that Kirkland take the project on the road. As part of a touring four-piece, Kirkland chimes easily with audiences who are typically turned off by instrumental jazz as she is a clear communicator through song, and her performance style is notable for its mellow and stylish approach. The Observer Magazine’s Dave Gelly has become a notable champion, hailing the album as a ‘very classy debut’ - one that is an easy win with rural audiences around the country.
“Proper jazz piano, excellent band. A very classy debut” – Dave Gelly, The Observer "Refreshing tribute to pianist singers like herself: Diana Krall, Nina Simone, Eliane Elias" - Jazzwise "Mellow and stylish" - Clive Davis, The Sunday Times "One of the great unsung heroines of British jazz. The lucid warmth of her singing is accompanied by her highly accomplished piano playing." The JazzMann "This first recording could just mark the beginning of much deserved recognition." Alan Barnes "Wendy is proof that great musicians are alive and kicking all around the UK and that they don’t have to be products of our music colleges to create high quality, entertaining music." Jim Mullen "I’ve had the pleasure of playing music with Wendy & Pat a few times & their relaxed attitude & superb musicianship means I always look forward to the next time!" Roger Beaujolais Wendy's musical career began at age 8, when she started taking piano lessons. She won a scholarship to have all her lessons paid for by Derbyshire Music, and continued to take her ABRSM piano grades. Switching to jazz in her late teens, Wendy continued her playing career as a dance class pianist, accompanist to singers and as a keyboardist in club bands. After being persuaded to sing by a great friend and guitarist, Bill McCreath, Wendy learned to reach people who are perhaps turned off by instrumental jazz, as she learnt to communicate with the audience through the songs. Wendy's voice has been likened to Blossom Dearie with hints of Diana Krall. Her influences range from Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald through Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly to Chick Corea, Eliane Elias and Michel Petrucciani. Current projects include Piano Divas, a tribute to the female pianist singers of jazz; hammond organ jazz outfit Organik Fource featuring Pat Sprakes on guitar and guest saxophonist; Organik Trio Goes To The Movies and The Organik Cookbook celebrating the early soul-jazz albums of George Benson. Wendy is married to jazz guitarist and bass player Pat Sprakes. They met by chance on a gig and have been making music together ever since.
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UK established jazz guitarist who cut his teeth working with Tony Kofi in the 1990s. He was selected by Darius Brubeck to perform as part of his quartet based on a live performance. He performed for US superstar guitarist Robben Ford around the same time. Since then, Pat has been working with artists such as Wendy Kirkland, Alan Barnes, Jim Mullen, Karen Sharp, Nigel Price and has performed at clubs and festivals throughout the UK such as Brecon, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Pershore, Marsden, and more.
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Paul Jefferies is an accomplished bassist and teacher based in Oxfordshire, England. He is bassist with the Rob Terry Trio, The Ben Holder Quartet, Gypsy Fire and his own trio ‘Tantrum’ featuring Tommaso Starace. Paul teaches students of all levels from beginner to very accomplished (and even well known) performers. Paul was one of the founders of the successful Oxford Jazz Festival, he currently operates ‘Jazz-on-Tap’, Moreton-in-Marsh and Witney jazz clubs and has made a name for himself as an active and successful promoter of music and musicians.
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Steve Wyndham began his professional career touring with the Herb Miller Orchestra age 19. In 1994 he took a year out to complete a P.G Diploma in Advanced Jazz and Studio music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Following graduation, Steve continued with Herb and also worked in small groups lead by Stan Sultzman, Trudy Kerr and many others. As well as performing in the UK, Steve has held jazz group residences on cruise ships and in Dubai’s InterContinental Hotel. He has toured with theatre shows in Brazil, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Most recently Steve has been performing with Wendy Kirkland, Brandon Allen, Purdy, Hugh Turner and Stefan Redtenbacher. Steve is well known for his versatility and can be heard playing many styles from samba to funk. As well as maintaining his busy playing career, Steve has been the specialist drum kit teacher at Eton College since 1999.
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Hoton Village Hall
- Loughborough Road
- LE12 5SL