MOBO nominated Jazz saxophonist Camilla George plays Cardiff’s Market Tavern on March 1 in support of her album debut Isang.
A graduate from Trinity College of Music, having won the Archer scholarship for outstanding performance, George has studied with many jazz greats including Jean Toussaint, Tony Kofi, Julian Siegel and Martin Speake. Since 2004 she has been working with both Tomorrow’s Warriors and the Nu Civilisation Orchestra and, from 2009, the award winning band, Jazz Jamaica. Andy Howells recently put questions to Camilla about the album.
How did you get into perming jazz music?
I was very much nurtured by Gary Crosby and Janine Irons at Tomorrow’s Warriors who have known me pretty much since I first started playing saxophone. I gradually rose up the ranks to join Jazz Jamaica and that’s really when my music career began.
Who would you say has inspired you on your music journey?
I think I was inspired by my parents as they had great taste in music and every Sunday I used to sit with my Dad who was a huge jazz fan and listen to his amazing vinyl collection. He got me into Sonny Stitt, Cannonball, Sonny Rollins etc and he took me when I was 12 to my first jazz concert to see Sonny Rollins at The Barbican which was such a magical experience.
Can you tell us a little about your new album?
My debut album, ‘Isang’ pronounced E-S-A-N-G is an album about a journey of self discovery from my African and Caribbean roots through to jazz in its modern day forms. ‘Isang’ is an old Efik/Ibibio word that means voyage and symbolises the CGQ’s musical journey. It is symbolic as Efik is the language of South Coastal Nigeria where I was born. I was keen to explore different stylistic elements such as highlife, afrobeat, calypso and hip-hop. It’s a project which wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for my amazing band whose musicianship is of the highest degree.
What are you looking forward to most bout the live shows?
I’m really looking forward to touring with my own band! I have been lucky to have played all over the UK and Europe but it will be very special to tour as a band leader. I’m particularly looking forward to driving the tour bus!!
You play Cardiff’s Market Tavern on March 1, what can people expect from the show?
Our forthcoming gig at Cardiff will be lots of fun! That’s what I love about this project that the amazing musicians in my band get the music so there are no barriers and we can explore the music and have a lot of fun doing so!
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m checking out New York altoist, Jaleel Shaw’s 2008 album, ‘Optimism’ which is amazing. I am lucky to have hung out with him a bit in NY and he is just such a fantastic player and his compositions are so fresh- I love it! I’m also checking out Yussef Kamaal’s ‘Black Focus’– it’s literally so hip!
Beyond the tour what else can we expect from you this year?
We have an exciting year ahead of us and we will be supporting Courtney Pine’s album launch at The Barbican on 17th March which we can’t wait for! Plus we will be performing at Cheltenham Jazz Festival on 27th April!
Where can people find out more about your music?
You can keep up to date with our news via my website- www.camillageorge.com