In the midst of these politically savage, shaky times, George Hudson, driven by his passion for jazz and blues music, has founded a live music venue in the heart of central London’s most vibrant community, Soho. While there may be trouble ahead, Hudson offers-up a Brexit hiatus, in the form of his Soho-Live Jazz Festival. Serving-up a respite from reality, Hudson has roped in all of Soho’s iconic venues to host a magical force of young talent, in jazz, blues and cross-genre music. Channeling the Irving Berlin classic that emerged from an era of poverty, mass unemployment and forced migration, let’s face the music and dance is his ethos.
Hudson founded the Carlisle Street Piano Bar a few years ago, which has merged into a recording studio. While the neighbourhood was already the national nucleus of jazz music, the intimate venue held its own, against some of long-standing behemoths and world-famous classics. A year later with two producers, George founded Soho.Live, with a venue expansion that now accommodates a label and recording studio, which aimed at developing ‘jazzers’, and nurturing talent in this musical genre.
As the organisation enters its fourth year, George is delighted to take that love of music even further. “Nearly 100 years after the first movement, we’re entering a New Jazz Age”, Hudson smiles. As a token of his belief in the power of jazz and blues, Hudson announces Soho.Live Jazz Week, which will take from 11 – 14 September and will see the legendary jazz clubs of Soho come together, showcasing more than 250 artists, across 45 ticketed shows, in over 15 venues.
Having created a vibrant and thriving musical ecosystem in the village, George and his team are heralding the dawn of this new age. Soho.Live Jazz Week will be a window inside these exciting times for the genre and its audiences. Speaking about his motivation for spearheading the event, George says: “From smoky bars in the US to clubs in the Weimar republic, jazz has been popular across the world, but I think it’s now thriving again and having a renaissance.” Although jazz is as ageless as it is timeless, jazz musicians, explains George, are getting younger. “Jazz is once again cool.” On Wednesday 11 September, 26 year-old Ashley Henry, will perform at L’Escargot, Greek Street. As one of the UK’s leading jazz and beats performers, Henry brings his live show to Soho. Following the widespread success of his Easter EP, the genre-blurring UK pianist returns in full force with his debut studio album Beautiful Vinyl Hunter, set for release in September on Sony Music. Meanwhile, Cherise Adam Burnett star turn will take place at Hudson’s venue, The Piano Bar on Carlisle Street. The singer is a blazing a trail as a fiercely talented vocalist and musician, appearing at some of the country’s most prestigious venues and festivals, including the Royal Albert Hall. Now part of Soho.Live Jazz Week, Cherise now provides an intimate stripped back performance at the festivals’ mothership. On Thursday 12 September, Bluey Robinson will perform at 100 Wardour Street. The voice and good looks of the half-Swedish, half British-Caribbean singer has caught the attention of GQ, iD and Dazed. His ascendancy is best illustrated by some of his illustrious associations. Hello, Justin Bieber, with whom Robinson has performed with his European ‘My World Tour’ and also joined the likes of D’angelo, Alicia Keys, Trey Songz and Tinie Tempah on theirs. Later on that night, one of London’s most glamorous spaces will open its doors to non-members for jazz and blues diva, Collette Cooper, a solo artist championed by BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 6 Music, Soho Radio and Jazz FM. Her music is eclectic with dramatic, dark, theatrical, and sometimes ironic tones.
Cooper has become a celebrity favorite, who always packs a star-studded crowd and this will be an occasion to remember as she will unveil her new single and video, directed by none other than her bessie, Nick Grimshaw. For this special occasion, ticket holders do not need to be a member of Quo Vadis and will also receive complementary cocktails and a goody bag.
On Friday, Stylish London singer Kitty LaRoar debuts her new trio at Soho Theatre, singing, scatting and free-styling at the drums. The band will be showcasing original compositions from the album Valentine’s Eve, as well as original lyrics to the music of Monk, Ellington, Strayhorn and Sonny Rollins.Finally, the Saturday Jam and street party will run from 1-9pm so revellers need to head down to the finale of Soho Live Jazz Week, a prestigious celebration of all things jazz, showcasing some of the finest artists the gamut genre has to offer. Taking you on a musical journey through jazz, blues, soul and be-bop, and offering some top street food and cocktails for the occasion, this is one jazz event not to be missed.