The Independent London Newspaper
21st August 2017

CLASSICAL AND JAZZ: Fumi’s roots are showing

    Fumi Okiji photo: benjaminamure.com

    Fumi Okiji photo: benjaminamure.com

    Published: 10 January, 2013
    by SEBASTIAN TAYLOR

    ACCLAIMED young jazz singer Fumi Okiji is opening the second series of Dorian Ford’s Jazz & Roots gigs at St James Studio, Westminster, tomorrow (Friday).

    Backed by her Old Time Jazz Band, she’ll be singing early New Orleans jazz songs, black vaudeville and the great songbooks of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

    Born and brought up in Hackney, and an Islington resident until recently, Fumi has been making waves on the London jazz scene.

    “I first happened on Fumi’s Old Time Jazz Band when I shared the bill with them at The Vortex last year,” says Dorian Ford, curator of the Jazz & Roots series St James Studio.

    “What struck me most was the grace and luminescence with which this ensemble interpreted these fantastic classics from the repertoire of the all-time greats – Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday et al.

    “There was never any sense that the individualism displayed was quirky for the sake of it. As a singer, Fumi is able to sit comfortably within the sound of her ensemble in a way, that for me, recalls the amazing chemistry of Billie Holiday’s small bands with Teddy Wilson and Lester Young.”

    Dorian Ford’s first Jazz & Roots series at St James Studio was well received in the autumn.

    Highlights of the second series include: January 18: Alex Garnett Quartet; January 25: John Etheridge Trio; February 1: Byron Wallen Quartet; February 8:Zoe Rahman Trio.

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