CD RELEASE DATE Monday 15th September 2008
Jazzizit Records are delighted to announce Big City Calling, the debut adult contemporary and jazz release by artist John Heavens. BBC Jazz Vocalist of the Year 2007, Ian Shaw says ‘John Heavens' debut album is an impressive affair. Funky, witty and diverse….. the songs are fresh and groovy. Heavens calls upon a stellar cast of musicians and a delightfully funky Andrea Vicari on piano’. John is collaborating with musicians who tour with Jamie Cullum and Jools Holland and you can preview 3 tracks on www.myspace.com/johnheavens The album launch event is at the renowned jazz club Pizza Express in Soho, London on Sunday 21st September at 6.45pm. Call 0845 6027 017 for tickets costing £18.00 or book online at www.pizzaexpresslive.com
John Heavens’ professional singing career started with pop, soul, blues and funk performing at venues around the UK and on the European Blues circuit. Big City Calling is stylistically eclectic and is a contemporary blend of Jazz, Rap, Rock, Gospel and African music, showcasing John’s original compositions and subtle vocals. The album has wide appeal because it crosses several musical genres.
Freedom is a recurrent theme in John’s music, (his jazz-singer mum is related to the founder of Harley Davidson*, whose motorcycles are the epitome of freedom!) John was so determined to follow his passion for music that he risked it all by taking a year off work** to study Jazz at Trinity College of Music, Greenwich, London.
Duke Ellington's ‘Sacred Concert’ proved inspirational for the album and Cry Freedom deals with breaking free from emotional issues that hold people back. Monday on Freedom Street explores John’s observations of jobs that provide income but do not satisfy the soul. The jazz ballad Hanoi Lullaby tells the story of a street kid in Hanoi who dies through drugs and prostitution.
With such a wide range of issues, John has utilized a diverse instrumentation to colour his stories - Rapper Jahaziel (Daniel Beddingfield, Craig David), delivers a strong freestyle rap message on Cry Freedom and Manhatten Transfer style vocals by Stephanie Meade (Madonna at Live 8) and Simon King feature on Transatlantic Love Affair. Accordian player Peter Rosser sets the mood on one of the two instrumental tracks Voyage around my Father and Tabla and percussion by Kuljit Bhamra are featured on Bodiccia’s Voice. At the heart of the Band are British Jazz greats Andrea Vicari – arrangements and piano, Marc Parnell - drums, Dorian Lockett - bass, Rory Simmons - trumpet, Malcolm Earl Smith – trombone, Duncan Eagles - sax and John Brattoff - guitar. Bassist Geoff Gascoyne who tours with Jamie Cullum also lends an ear to the post production. Recorded and Engineered by Derek Nash, saxophonist for Jools Holland and Jazzizit Director at Clowns Pocket Studios. For more information see www.johnheavens.com
‘John Heavens is an imaginative and accomplished performer with a stylistically diverse album appealing to a jazz audience as well as the adult contemporary market. We see this project paving the way for more cross genre releases.’ Trudy Kerr, Jazzizit Records. www.jazzizit.co.uk
*John’s Mum Betty Harley was from Littleport in Cambridgeshire, home to William S Harley, founder of Harley Davidson motorcycles.
**John is a Director of Heritage Legal and Financial Ltd., with £2 million turnover and fifty eight staff in seven counties.
The gig is in aid of the Befriend charity which supports 40 Tsunami orphans and educates a further 200 children in Southern India
JAZZIZIT RECORDS JITCD0848
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This disc is a great first calling card. Big City Calling displays the talents of quite a few unheralded personalities from the London scene. With some beautiful playing from a fourteen piece band, and very tastefully orchestrated arrangements by pianist Andrea Vicari, a whole album of original music penned by relatively fresh to the scene vocalist / songwriter John Heavens comes to life. The project brings together so many musical elements: jazz, groove, rap, funk and soul, enabling a fairly accessible album that should establish John Heavens as a new face on the block.
Arrangements feature the whole versatility of a band that moves between full-on brass section to well-voiced backing vocals. The compositions are strong in the first place and offer so much as stand-alone songs!
Linley Hamilton - BBC Radio Ulster
‘John Heavens' debut album is an impressive affair. Funky, witty and diverse, this collection of originals recalls the Brit-Funk of The Average White Band and the English Soul of those mid seventies delights, Kokomo.
Heavens has stage-managed the affair almost single-handedly, calling upon a stellar cast of UK singers, horn players and a delightfully funky Andrea Vicari on piano. The songs are fresh and groovy, teasing the listener with well arranged intros, Tower Of Power style, easing into head-nodding grooves and framing Heavens' well intoned and refreshingly unadorned vocal delivery.’
BBC Jazz Vocalist of the Year 2007, Ian Shaw
Wow! Pop-jazz for the common urban-man with social conscience! Here’s a seemingly tried-and-tested talent who herewith pays his dues with a gentle-jazz ‘musical statement that is wholly under-stated yet unapologetic and ‘direct-to-the-point’. His worldly-wise, down-to-basics album conjures up a blend of ‘street-sense’ with ‘good news’ that is perceptive, devoid of sickly sentiment. Yes, here are some quality gems from a very talented Brit. His engaging style embraces contemporary urban-jazz sounds whose repertoire subjects are profound statements-to-ponder laced with optimistic inspiration delivered a la cabaret-style utilizing a diverse talent rosta. Paraded are Rapper Jahaziel (Daniel Beddingfield, Craig David), Stephanie Meade, Simon King, Peter Rosser, Kuljit Bhamra, Andrea Vicari, Marc Parnell, Dorian Lockett, Rory Simmons, Malcolm Earl Smith, Duncan Eagles & Geoff Gascoyne. His expensive audio-trail has been laudably fashioned for adult-contemporary ears, paraded amid consummate art.
PAUL DAVIS www.pauldavisauthor.com www.ncmradioshow.com
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