INTERVIEW: Joe Stilgoe (Oct/Nov touring, and London dates in December)

Joe Stilgoe at Ronnie Scott's
Photo credit: Carl Hyde

 Pianist/singer/songwriter Joe Stilgoe is currently touring. He gave Sebastian Scotney an update about what's going on. Sebastian writes:  

The last time I heard Joe Stilgoe was at the New Songs for Old Souls launch at the Old Vic.( REVIEW). What was so impressive about that launch - apart from the music - was the dramaturgy, the thought that had gone into making the evening work convincingly as a show. Having seen so much planning and effort go in to that one evening a success, I was curious to establish what was happening to follow that up, and also asked him about what is going on currently...

Joe went to Edinburgh for a week August with his Songs on Film show, which will return for a full month next year. He is currently back on the road in the UK performing New Songs for Old Souls with his trio, The tour has already started and will go on until November 22nd.

Thereafter he has two sold out nights at Ronnie Scott's in early December, and then the New Songs for Old Souls show with full big band will get another outing – at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue for a Christmas special on December 21st.

He is also looking at other projects. In the process of being put together is a piano and bass project with Chris Hill, with reductions of Glenn Miller tunes - it will be in the mould of albums which George Shearing made with bassist Brian Torf. “These tunes just never seem to get reinterpreted even though they’re incredible and so well known, and we’re going to do something really modern and intricate while maintaining the intrinsic swing of the original arrangements."

Joe Stilgoe is also touring, doing seven or eight shows with New Orleans vocalist and trumpeter Leroy Jones “He's New Orleans royalty but he isn't really known here. I first heard him as trumpeter in Harry Connick Jr's band – I wore out my copy of Harry’s NY Big Band Concert on VHS (showing my age?)” “In the past couple of weeks we've spoken – He's an astonishing musician and human - a complete gent, full of the great spirit that’s also in his playing.”

I asked him about big band arrangements.The ones for the New Songs show were done by Tom Richards and Evan Jolly. “We're all about the same age. I've cast Tom as Nelson Riddle, and Evan as Billy May – no pressure then. Evan Jolly also did the brass band arrangemet for Liane Carroll's Seaside. I remember when we were in NYJO together, he said ‘if you ever get big enough to do a big band album, you HAVE to use me. I honoured the promise. Both of those guys are as good as anyone else on the scene. Fame to the arrangers!”

And the songwriting? “Seaside, a song I wrote for Liane Carroll, has been a real success. And if all goes well I'll have a new album of originals ready for the end of next year.”


Joe Stilgoe is touring New Songs for Old Souls between now and December (DATES)

He is also touring with New Orleans legend Leroy Jones (LINK)  

The New Songs for Old Souls Christmas Special, with full big band, is at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue on December 21st BOOKINGS

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