Camilla George released her debut album Isang on Ubuntu Music on January 13th. Although this was her first album as leader the MOBO nominated saxophonist, composer and teacher is already an established musician on the jazz circuit . 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.
“It wasn’t until I joined Courtney Pine’s Venus Warriors and we played our debut gig at The Hideaway that I felt ready to lead my own band. That project inspired me and gave me the confidence I needed to branch out on my own,” George says.
The Camilla George Quartet (CGQ) was formed in 2014 with Sarah Tandy (piano), Daniel Casimir (bass) and Femi Koleoso (drums).
George’s love of fusing African and Western Music is the hallmark of this album– mixing a late 50s post bop cool jazz vibe with African elements and a polished modern sound. Pronounced E-S-A-NG, ‘Isang’ is an old Efik/Ibibio word that means voyage and symbolises the CGQ’s musical journey. The music is varied and impressive from the blues of the opening track, written to celebrate the West African spirit Mami Wata; the delicate ballad dedicated to her father in ‘Song For Reds’, the Kenny Garrett composition ‘Ms Baja’ that features her long time friend and collaborator Zara McFarlane and the silky groove of ‘Mami Wata Returns/Usoro’ . The album demonstrates a combination of impressive playing, sympathetic arrangement, and compositions that effectively reflect a variey of jazz styles in a contemporary setting.
“Isang is an album about a journey of self discovery from my African and Caribbean roots through to jazz in its modern day forms. 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.” Camilla George.
George tour dates to support the release are as follows
23 February – Matt & Phred’s, Manchester
25 February – Zeffirelli’s, Ambleside
26 February – 7ARTS, Leeds
27 February – Kenilworth Jazz Club
28 February – Royal British Legion, North Wales Jazz
1 March – Dempsey’s, Cardiff
2 March – The Vortex, London