Cleveland Watkiss with Pete Churchill & Quartet performing the Jon Hendricks Songbook
The Poet Laureate of Jazz, Hendricks was a singer, composer and groundbreaking jazz lyricist. Taking the jazz world by storm in the 1950s, his iconic group ‘Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross’ performed entertaining and clever vocal versions of famous instrumental jazz tunes, all with lyrics by Hendricks.
A Choir Workship with Cleveland & Pete will also take place on the same day from 11am – 1pm. A separate ticket for the event can be purchased here.
Born in the East End of London, virtuoso vocalist, actor and composer. At age 16, he won twice in a local singing talent competition, hosted by “FatMan” of FatMan Sound System (North East London Based Roots, Reggae & Dub Sound System). Cleveland Watkiss studied the voice at the London School of Singing with opera coach Arnold Rose and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Cleveland was also one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band. His vocals can be heard on their debut album, Out of Many People, which won a video award in Japan.
Cleveland was then entered for the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards and was voted best vocalist for three consecutive years, and was the opening act of choice for two of the worlds greatest female jazz vocalists Cassandra Wilson and Abbey Lincoln. John Fordham, the Guardian music journalist accurately describes Cleveland as “arriving on the scene with a bang”.
His amazing vocal experiences have seen him perform with many diverse artists from around the world such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Jackie Mittoo, Keith Richards, the James Taylor Quartet, Art Blakey, Sly & Robbie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, Patife, the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Nigel Kennedy, Carlinhos Brown, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, The Who, Branford Marsalis, George Martin, Julian Joseph, Bocato Big Band, Lisa Stansfield, Courtney Pine, Janet Kay, Maxi Priest, Soul II Soul, the London Chamber Orchestra, Kassa Mady, the BBC Orchestra, Goldie, Cassandra Wilson, the Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Sugar Minot, Talvin Singh, Bjork, Pete Townshend, the London Community Gospel Choir [LCGC] and many many more.
Cleveland is also a very keen music educator, working as a voice instructor at workshops in venues, schools, colleges and universities around the UK.
Pete Churchill has been working as a composer, pianist, singer and teacher for almost 30 years. After twenty years teaching at the Guildhall, Pete is now Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music and Head of Jazz Voice at the Brussels Royal Conservatoire.
Whilst teaching regularly in Europe, Australia and the Far East (Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore), Pete is recognised here as being at the forefront of Jazz education – receiving the Parliamentary Award for Jazz Education in 2007 and nominated again in 2012 and 2017.
Being founder/director of ‘The London Vocal Project’ (LVP), led to work with Sir John Dankworth & Dame Cleo Laine and Bobby McFerrin and more recently LVP recorded the critically acclaimed CD ‘Mirrors’ with Ken Wheeler and Norma Winstone MBE. In 2017, after a lengthy collaboration with the Jazz singer/lyricist Jon Hendricks, Pete and LVP travelled to New York to give the world premiere of Jon Hendricks’ ‘Miles Ahead’.
As a pianist, Pete spent 15 years as accompanist to the legendary Jazz singer Mark Murphy and, more recently worked with Sheila Jordan.He has been a member of both Kenny Wheeler’s and Abdullah Ibrahim’s Vocal Projects and was privileged to be the conductor of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band, culminating in the final album, ‘The Long Waiting’.
“(Royal Academy) students… have the good fortune to find themselves under the guidance of a unique force in British music…” LONDON JAZZ NEWS.