In a relatively short time ReVoice! has become one of the most creative and adventurous events of the autumn on the national jazz scene, and a must for followers of jazz-vocals. Ahead of this year’s festival, singer Georgia Mancio, who curates, programmes, and also performs during the festival held in London venue Pizza Express Jazz Club this year from 10-19 October, explains just what’s in store for 2013
What’s been the toughest challenge in getting ReVoice! together this year?
It’s always the same time management issues where I need to divide myself into musician, curator, designer, copy-writer, photographer, blogger, PA etc! I’m a perfectionist so it’s very hard to let go if the attention to detail is not spot on. I’ve also had the challenge of orchestrating my own 24-date tour this summer.
It's all at the Pizza this year (no Union Chapel). Conscious decision?
Yes, we wanted to consolidate the performances at our host venue this year. 2014 will be our fifth edition, which is cause for real celebration; so I’d like to involve other venues for that – hopefully both in and outside of London.
Can you give me a quick run-down on just why each main artist has been chosen?
One of the main reasons I began ReVoice! was to give a platform to artists not so known in the UK. Both David Linx and Gregory Porter played multiple ReVoices! – a great opportunity for audiences to catch them again. This year I’m bringing back two vocalists with completely new projects. Barbara Raimondi returns with the ambitious Singin’ Ornette – a Celebration of Mr Coleman’s Music following her 2011 date with her latin trio Contigo en la Distancia. Sofia Rei, an extremely impressive New York-based Argentinian singer, brings her own group following last year’s debut with the John Zorn a cappella outfit Mycale. ReVoice! is also all about collaborations, so we have Tina May premiering new material co-written with Italian virtuoso pianist, Enrico Pieranunzi. Similarly, we have two vocalists we’ve been talking with for a while – Kevin Mahogany and Allan Harris – who will be teaming up with top flight British rhythm sections.
Carmen Souza is the first artist I booked this year. I was just so intrigued by her idiosyncratic sound and mix of world and jazz music. She’s having huge success all over the globe and you can’t ignore that. Then Beady Belle was on my wish list for a while: beautiful vocals and such sharp writing that impressively genre-hops with total cohesion. One of the other main reasons I started ReVoice! was to get a fix of one inspiring singer after another. Carleen Anderson, one the greatest, most emotionally charged voices of all time, closes for us this year and it will be a privilege to hear, present and learn from her.
Do you think jazz-vocals are having a 'moment'? If so why; and how do you trace the increase of interest in the genre?
Yes, in the sense that there are so many incredible jazz vocalists out there – both college-educated or still going strong after years on the road. Whether these artists are getting the attention they deserve is another matter, and it’s frustrating that there’s still a snobbery and old-fashioned attitude towards vocalists amongst certain venues and promoters, critics, and even audiences. ReVoice! seeks to challenge that and uphold the belief that there are only two types of music – good and bad.
Interview: Stephen Graham
Georgia Mancio above performing at ReVoice! last year. Photo: Dave Ohm