Jazz Vocals Tutor
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2009 saw the release of Sara's new album 'Ready' and it is a perfect example of a singer comfortable in her skin, confident in her instrument and experienced in the genre. Having grown up with music it was inevitable that Sara would take that as her profession. She started on piano and had brief encounters with double bass, violin and flute.
'I had a really good start with a classical music education and my parents, though not working musicians, were nonetheless musical and were really keen that we had learned an instrument - my brothers are professional musicians too.
I'm really glad I stuck with piano because it really helped when I started to learn how to sing jazz - I could understand the harmony and it was where I started writing music'. After learning her trade on the UK scene in trios and quartets, Sara spent ten years singing with harmony group The Passion, a vocal/piano trio with Jacqui Dankworth and Liane Carroll - they released one album called 'One Good Reason'.
"We did lots of gigs, had lots of fun with The Passion and I learned a lot from those two fabulous ladies - wonderful singers and generous musicians - one of the songs we wrote ('Come to us') even featured on a Cliff Richard album called 'Cliff at Christmas'.
Recently, Sara was a finalist in the BBC Radio 2 "Sold on Song" songwriting competition; Was among the elite group of artists selected for the Jerwood series of Rising Star concerts at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and was a recipient of one of the inaugural Birmingham Jazz Awards.
In 2008 was guest artist with the Sub Ensemble, co-wrote Sem Amour with The Colman Brothers (released May 09) and featured as guest singer on the album 'Another Story' by jazz accordionist Karen Street.
"I've been friends with Karen for 15 years or so but we hadn't had the chance to work together for a long time. So when she asked me to part of her new project I was really delighted - we co-wrote the song 'Stay' and one of my own songs, 'Place to be' has also been given a new interpretation on the album - Karen is a really melodic musician and I think our styles work well together."
Being a composer and songwriter too has lead to several commissions including the suite, 'Seven Songs for Seven Colours' for a Capella group Black Voices and "Celebrate" for choir.
"I love writing music - it's not always easy and I'm always just finishing a piece as the deadline arrives! All of the songs on Spellbound (her debut album) I wrote or co-wrote and there are two of my songs on Ready.
And 'Ready' is where she is now - the album is released on April 13th 2009 and the quartet will be touring this year.
"I wanted this album to be simple and direct - Chris (Taylor) and Ben (Markland) were old friends and along with new friend Mike Smith, we rehearsed and recorded the album in under a week. Pete (Harris) added some lovely guitar on three of the tracks and we knew immediately which songs and arrangements worked best; - the album almost made itself!
There is plenty of jazz on this album but the heart of it is about expression, sharing and ultimately, the songs."