Newcastle jazz singer Zoe Gilby, described by British saxaphone legend Courtney Pine as someone who “deserves wider recognition”, is coming to Long Sutton next weekend.
Zoe, ten years on from releasing her debut album “Now That I Am Real” being released, will be joined by her quartet at The Market House in Market Street on Saturday, December 16, at 7.30pm.
Part of the Lincolnshire Rural and Community Touring series, Zoe will have support from guitarist Mike Williams, drummer Richard Brown and double bassist Andy Champion, also her husband.
Zoe said: “Jazz in the North East is vibrant, better now than it was ten years ago, and you can check out live music here three or four nights.
“We’ve even got a university course in Newcastle which helps to keep the sound of jazz alive.
“But there’s a vibrant atmosphere in Lincolnshire as well because of the internet where you can hear jazz music online.
We’ve always had a wonderful time whenever we’ve done the Lincolnshire Rural and Community Touring shows, meeting lovely people in beautiful venues that are so well-runZoe Gilby, of The Zoe Gilby Quartet
“It’s help the North East in breaking away from the perception and identity it has outside the area, but it’ll always be identified with a certain type of music (Sting, Bryan Ferry, Dire Straits, Jimmy Nail and Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics).
“But I’m quite proud of that identity and there’s not many cities that can boast that, even though the UK does have a very good live music scene, despite it being so small.”
Zoe is no stranger to the county after performing in Ewerby, near Sleaford, in April.
But this is her first time in South Holland and she said: “We’ve always had a wonderful time on the few occasions that we’ve done the Lincolnshire Rural and Community Touring shows, meeting lovely people in beautiful venues that are so well-run.
“Everyone who has been involved in our previous shows have been really warm and really friendly, so it’s a joy to be able to bring our music to these places and perform.
“It’s been really special when we’ve done shows in the past because there’s a really nice, family atmosphere and community spirit which I dentify with coming from the North East.
“You can remember all the people you’ve met and tell our own story to them.”
Zoe released her debut album in 2007, following it up with “Looking Glass” in 2010 and “Twelve Stories” three years later.
She is currently finishing her fourth album, “The Escapologist” which should be out next year and some of the songs will be performed at Long Sutton Market House next Saturday.
Zoe said: “This album will have a different theme to the others, but all the songs will be about people escaping from different situations, whether it be animals moving into a different part of their migration, relationship changes or other experiences.
“The Escapologist will have a different sound and we’ve been able to put a little bit more into the production side of it to make the album a little bit more interesting.
“There will be plenty of original material that I will be discussing to a point where the audience can be invited to understand what the songs are about.
“But the concert in Long Sutton will also feature some jazz standards, contemporary and maybe even one or two Christmas songs as well.”
Zoe lists among her musical influences Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Billie Holliday, Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughan.
But a better comparison could be made to the British singer known as the “Queen of Jazz”, Dame Cleo Laine, and her daughter Jacqui Dankworth.
Zoe said: “I had the lovely opportunity to meet Jacqui in Gateshead a few years ago (at the 2013 Gateshead International Jazz Festival) and tell her that she was the one who got me into writing my own songs.
“My husband Andy Champion said he thought I should be writing my own stuff and that he’d help to pull it together.
“But being on stage and performing your own music is a bit like acting and if you’ve come up with your own story, you then have to develop songs where you get into character a little bit.
“Thankfully, the nicest compliment I’ve ever been given was when I was told that I have my own sound because that’s what we all strive to achieve - that ultimate selling point which means that you’re doing your own thing.”
Tickets for The Zoe Gilby Quartet, priced £10 or £8 if booked in advance, are available from The Market House by calling 01406 366767.
Interview by Winston Brown