Last Thursday a new initiative was launched at Zizzi Central in St Giles High Street. Presiding, musically at the launch was a major figure in British music, pianist/composer/arranger/ educator Laurie Holloway. Hosting, singing, and on tenor sax, was Becki Biggins. And, completing the picture above, with that improbable little finger stretch down the D-string: Jules Jackson.
Central St Giles is the newest addition in London to the Zizzi’s chain. Zizzi's have strong artistic instincts and leanings - they have previously worked to promote the careers of young designers and illustrators. For this project they are welcoming singers. For the five Thursdays of the Month of December. The venture will also be raising money for the Princes Trust , supporting their work with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.
Zizzi's explain the logic in their press release: “Recognising how hard it can be for young people to get a break now, we see our role as a provider of both a platform for talent, as well as opportunities through our partnership with The Prince’s Trust.”
Becki Biggins will appear on all five Thursdays, and will introduce/ showcase other singers - see the list below. There are also two guest spots each evening. Singers who turn up will get a chance to sing one song, and get a meal. The house band is top notch: risen star Malcolm Edmonstone's trio.
Zizzi Sessions will run every Thursday evening from 2nd December – 30thDecember at: Zizzi Central St Giles, 8 Central St Giles Plaza, London, WC2H 8LA Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road .
Zizzi's St Giles Central is quite a big venue. Request a table near to the music. To book call 020 7240 8447
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Becki Biggins (2nd Dec – 30th Dec)
BeckiBiggins is an award-winning singer and saxophonist. In the past two years, Becki has won the Marlborough Jazz Festival’s Best Newcomer Award, US Smooth Jazz’s Best Artist and has been nominated for a Grammy for her work with 80s legend Paul (N-n-n-Nineteen)Hardcastle.
Her current US album, Jazzmasters 6, on which Becki is both co-writer and lead vocalist, peaked at No. 1 in the US Billboard, iTunes and Amazon charts, and earned her a further US Smooth Jazz Award nomination.
Nell Ryder (2nd December)
Nell is a singer, songwriter and guitarist. She started her musical career at the age of 15. Now 19, Nell is working on her debut album with renowned record producer and writer Mike Chapman and songwriter LiliReinisch, who works with many artists, the latest including Ellie Goulding. The album is expected for release in mid 2011.
Nell's music is influenced by Blues, Folk, Americana and Country.
Sarah Ellen Hughes (9th December)
Sarah, familiar to readers of this site, has been singing on the London jazz scene since 2006. Championed by leading vocalists Claire Martin and Ian Shaw, Sarah has just released her first album: “Darning the Dream” on Say So Records. The album is a mix of standard songs and original tunes, showcasing the kind of material that makes Sarah unique – her versatility and confidence in many styles is second to none. While being a true jazz singer, the album has soul-inflected moments, and her arrangements show that this is an album from the hand of a true musician. The album was selected as UK Jazz Radio’s ‘CD of the month’ for both March and April 2010.
Sarah broke on to the London jazz scene whilst spending three years as the principal vocalist of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO). This year alone, Sarah's quartet performed at some of the UK's major jazz festivals including Swindon, Marlborough and Southport. Sarah has also gained International recognition, and in April 2010 Sarah won the International Jazz Singing Competition ‘Jazz Voices’ held in Lithuania.
Michael Lucas (9th December)
Michael has been playing guitar, singing and performing from an early age. He usually performs as a solo artist but is also at home performing with others. Michael is influenced by a wide range of music, including artists such as The Beatles, James Taylor and Frank Sinatra. Usually found gigging in the Bucks and Berks area and occasionally London, Michael relishes any opportunity to be involved in music.
Ella Davidson (16th December)
Ella is a 17 year-old singer/songwriter from Chelsea, London. As well as her incredible voice, Ella also plays the piano, guitar and clarinet. Taking inspiration from soul, jazz and mainstream pop, Ella has an individual sound and creates original songs.
Peter Thickett(23rd December)
Peter is a fresh new talent. He's 15 years old and attends the Latymer School in London. He started playing jazz piano at an early age and discovered a love for jazz singing as well. He also plays classical piano. During his evening at Zizzi's he will perform some classics standards. His musical influences include Chet Baker and Tina May.
Lily Osborne (30th December)
Lily Osborne was born into a musical family so she has plenty to live up to. Grandfather, Musical Director Tony Osborne, conducted for such legendary divas as Shirley Bassey, EarthaKitt and Judy Garland. Her uncle, drummer Kenney Jones, played with The Who, The Small Faces, and The Faces. And her father, songwriter Gary Osborne, works as a lyricist for the likes of Elton John. Over the last couple of years Lily has appeared in small parts in most of Britain’s top TV shows, from Eastenders to Bremner, Bird and Fortune.
In 2009 Lily toured Britain and Europe with Jeff Wayne’s spectacular Live War Of The Worlds tour. 2010 started with a tour of Holland with a show celebrating Eurovision, followed by a residency at the Floradita Club in Soho. The year will end with another UK War Of The Worlds tour culminating in shows at Wembley and the O2 in front of a crowd of 16,000.