Pianist and composer Andrea Vicari was born in Miami (Florida) and grew up in Birmingham (England). Educated at Cardiff University she won a scholarship to study at The Guildhall School of Music in London. Andrea was soon in demand as a ‘side-man” working with bass guitar legend, Dill Katz in a band that included the then unknown guitarist Phil Robson. Soon after she formed her first important group with Julian Argüelles on saxophone & Stuart Hall, then of Django Bates’ “Human Chain”, on bass. Other employers included GRP recording artist, Phil Bent; jazz warrior David-Jean Baptiste with whom she recorded her first commercially released CD; and the all-women band “Birds” led by Kathy Stobart. She played a successful season at London’s sadly defunct jazz club “The Bass Clef” with the late great American saxophone innovator, Eddie Harris, broadcasting live on JazzFM radio; and gigged with the US trumpet legend Art Farmer.
Chris Hodgkins recently retired after 29 years as the Director of Jazz Services, the national support charity for jazz music and musicians. During his time at the organisation, he was honoured for his Services to Jazz at the 2002 BBC Jazz Awards and in July 2013 at the British Jazz Awards. Chris was awarded the Services to Jazz Award at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in March 2015. Despite his successes championing British jazz he still found the time to play himself, and as a musician released several great albums with his various groups, including 2009’s Boswell’s London Journal, which was reviewed as ‘CD of the Week’ in the Evening Standard. With his days of administration behind him, Chris now takes to the road, the radio and the recording studio to focus on playing the music he loves.
Hodgkins was raised in Cardiff. He co-founded the Welsh Jazz Festival and was instrumental in establishing the Welsh Jazz Society. As a professional trumpeter, Chris has toured the UK and Europe, appearing at the Sacramento Jazz Festival in the USA. The Chris Hodgkins Band made a name for itself supporting the likes of Buddy Tate, Humphrey Lyttelton, Kathy Stobart, Bud Freeman and Wild Bill Davison.
Todd Gordon has established himself as “one of Britain’s most popular singers and entertainers” (Scottish Television). An avid Beatles’ fan until the age of eleven, his musical horizons were broadened when he first heard a Frank Sinatra album. From that moment, he collected almost every recording by Ol’ Blue Eyes and, from there, his interest expanded to jazz and swing, encompassing numerous other renowned singers and instrumentalists.
Further inspiration came in 1975 when he met Ella Fitzgerald prior to one of her shows and then, during the concert, she invited him on stage and sang specially to him. Since then, Gordon has been fortunate enough to meet many more of his idols – including Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Count Basie, Woody Herman, George Shearing and Tony Bennett, motivating him to immerse himself in the Great American Songbook genre.
Gordon’s interest in music and singing was passionate, yet always private. But in 2000, he took part in a week-long vocal jazz workshop and that changed everything. His stage debut came in 2001 at Scotland’s top jazz club and from that moment on, as the cliché goes, he’s never looked back. In 2003, aged 44, he was booked to open for Dionne Warwick during her UK tour, which prompted him to give up his day job organisng exhibiBons. Since then, Gordon has performed frequently at Britain’s top jazz venues, including The Pizza Express Jazz Room, The 606 in Chelsea and the world-renowned Ronnie Scott’s. He’s also performed at The Plaza and The Algonquin hotels in New York – where he even did a duet with actor Christopher Walken, singing “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
Cathie RaeCathie Rae manages her long term partner, saxophonist & composer, Julian Argüelles, is project co-ordinator for JazzUK, sometimes singer and writer of the occasional song. Originally from Scotland, she now lives in Austria and is currently learning to speak the language.
Cathie is the eldest of six talented siblings who made their mark on the Scottish music scene. She was brought up surrounded by jazz – her father being a jazz bassist (Ronnie Rae), her mother a music teacher and her step mother the renowned jazz singer Fionna Duncan. Cathie is into many genres of music however admits that her favourite is jazz. She gained qualifications in piano, violin and voice whilst at school and also studied in New York with jazz legends Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy and Jay Clayton. She has released four CDs as a leader: Time Out – 2002, Flow – 2005, Back to the Mother – Duo CD 2012 and Lucky – 2013. The albums include many of Cathie’s own songs.
Cathie is a natural organiser with a wealth of experience over the past 25 years in tour management, fund raising in the arts and project work. She was a driving force on the Scottish jazz scene for many years as well as a director on the Jazz Services (now JazzUK) board chairing their Touring panel for many years.She continues to co-ordinates the British Stand at Jazzahead in Germany on behalf of JazzUK and is enjoying her new adventure in Austria.
I was born in Liverpool at the height of Beatlemania, though I was blissfully unaware of such a phenomena at the time. I have worked most of my professional life as a teacher; a job which has taken me halfway around the world, before depositing me in London, my home since the beginning of this century. Along the way, I have fallen in love with rock, punk and indie, industrial, techno, reggae, jungle and world music; pretty much in that order.
As well as playing music myself, I have recently established the “No Wahala Sounds” record label with my friend and business partner, James; specialising in lost gems from Africa and the Indian sub-continent.
On my Jazz London Radio programme, World Showcase, I hope to play tracks that may by turns delight, intrigue and occasionally disconcert the listener.
Hope you enjoy the trip!
London born and based Emily Saunders has established a strong career as vocalist, writer, producer.
Her music, broadcast nationally on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, JazzFM & XFM, along with radio stations around the world (eg Australia, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Germany, South Africa, Sweden to name a few), has also charted internationally on iTunes and Amazon in the UK, USA, Spain, Germany, France and Indonesia; Emily has truly become an international force in the jazz world.