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  • Clare Teal -
    celebrate everything glorious about the Swing era using the repertoire of two giants of the jazz and big band world For one night The Royal Albert took on the air of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem circa 1937 although we set our time span from 1930 1949 in order to mine the very juiciest musical morsels Ellington and Basie never actually did battle during this period which meant we could let our imaginations run truly wild This magical time when big bands reigned supreme at the top of the pop charts was focused all around dancing so to give a flavor of what the atmosphere would have been like the fabulous Jazz Co Tech dancers put on a topflight display of all elements of Terpsichore The players were assembled from the big glimmering pool of this country s most amazing jazz and big band talent The emphasis during the swing era was mainly on the band leaders the arrangers and the soloists however in my mind the singers were just as important so we employed awesome singing capabilities of the fabulous Basement Jaxx vocalist Ms Vula Malinga and jazz sensation Gregory Porter who flew in just in time for the final rehearsal on Friday morning no pressure then I got to sing a few tunes but mainly my job was to MC The battle was staged in rounds which were marked using an antique boxing bell which I very much enjoyed ringing The competition was properly fierce climaxing in a specially written Battle Royal where both glorious bands played simultaneously my ears are still ringing Did we have a winner I couldn t possibly say If you d like to hear the concert which was streamed live on BBC Radio 2 3 you can listen again Alternatively if you want to see what we got up to switch on BBC4 this Sunday evening at 7 p m 29 Jun Battle of the Bands This week you find me putting the finishing touches to the set list for our prom I still can t quite believe it s happening but on August 8th at 10 15pm 32 of the finest musicians in this country will file onto the stage of the Royal Albert Hall and commence a battle of the bands Duke Ellington v Count Basie Duke Grant Windsor will lead the Ellington side and Count James Pearson will head up the Basie team Back in the day when swing was pop celebrated bands would go head to head the winner being the band most popular with the dancers lest we forget the big band era was ALL about the dancing The original Battle of the bands generally took place at The Savoy Ballroom in Harlem and that s where you would find the hippest lindy hoppers in town a fantastic establishment that prided itself on its non discrimination policy rich poor black white as long as you had the entrance fee anybody could get in to enjoy the incredible music pumping out of that building Chick Webb held the residency from 1931 till his untimely death in 1939 aged just 34 all bands feared drummer Chick s relentless grooves which sent the dancers wild We are aiming to re create come of that frenzy and excitement This particular battle to the best of my knowledge never actually took place which allows me to totally indulge my musical fantasies Duke Ellington had impeccable taste and was a master of composition he invented and reinvented the genre countless times over Count Basie was a man of unbeatable riffs and groove so by using the music of these two big band god s I m hoping we can cover a lot of territory The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radios 2 3 It is also being filmed so you can see the entire shebang on BBC 4 Sunday August 17th In addition to presenting the show I ll be singing too along with some very special guests who I ll tell you about in the forthcoming weeks The musicians are booked the arrangements are being sourced or re written The concert will end with a specially written Battle Royal featuring both bands at that point if it hasn t already that big old domed roof is going to be raised Of course the bit that s keeping me awake at nights WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR 30 Apr Poor Alan Muddy and I both found it really difficult not to look guilty at 8am on Monday morning Alan the dog had only got to bed five hours earlier after our weekly round trip to London for my Radio 2 show not that you would have known to see him bounding around The vets isn t very far away and he was still decidedly cheery when we walked him in The nurse went through some paper work and weighed him then we had to say goodbye Again he didn t seem bothered at all hardly gave us a backwards glance Back in the office I had loads of work to do this week our radio show comes live from the Cheltenham Jazz Festival with special guests legendary percussionist Billy Cobham saxophonist Julian Siegel and jazz singer extraordinaire Liane Carroll In addition to spinning records and chatting to guests I m also going to be singing a few songs with my band so there s a lot to sort out but it was a very long morning waiting for the phone call to say Alan s little operation had been a success and that he was awake At two o clock we went to pick him up thankfully he was really pleased to see us I had feared he d never speak to us again in fact he looked most fetching with a cute little plastic funnel round his neck with green flowers on it sadly though it wasn t big enough but the next size up made him look Nipper His

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/category/radio-2/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    her sweet potato chocolate brownies for desert they sound weird but taste great and I had attempted a raspberry ginger and orange coulis to go with them which sounds nice but tasted weird or at least mine did although with a big dollop of crème fresh it all came together ok Gingerly I stepped on the scales Bizarrely despite eating more than I had since the beginning of January I hadn t put on any weight In fact thanks to Rosie I actually lost another 2 pounds 11 Mar Ivy Benson and her singer Parking outside Radio 2 last Sunday evening a private car pulled up in front of us and a woman with blondish hair jumped out and sort of skipped jogged into the building Muddy whispered I think that s your interview Nah It can t be the lady I m interviewing is 90 in August Joyce Terry nee Clark had been singing in Southport one evening in 1942 when Ivy Benson famed all girl bandleader headlining at the theatre across the way walked in and hired her on the spot the 18 year old then stayed with band for the next five years I am passionate about preserving the memory and accomplishments of this inspirational woman who despite the misogynistic back biting and discrimination of the time fought on to become the BBC s resident band in 1943 top of the bill at the London Palladium for 6 months in 1944 and the first band to be invited to play at the VE Day celebrations in Berlin 1945 Later that year on Christmas Day she performed a live concert from Hamburg broadcast to the British nation directly after the King s speech A favourite of ENSA Ivy and her girls toured Europe and the Middle East as part of the war effort raising morale wherever they went Ivy passed away aged 79 in 1993 having led her band for 43 years If attitudes towards female musicians weren t tough enough Ivy was constantly losing her girls to the charms of various dashing servicemen she later said I lost seven in one year to America Only the other week a girl slipped away from the stage I thought she was going to the lavatory but she went off with a G I Nobody s seen her since Ivy offered financial independence to women musicians at a time when there were startlingly few platforms for them to be heard she hired only the best including the legendary trumpeter Gracie Cole who eventually left Ivy to join George Evans Band to play lead trumpet unheard of at that time Incidentally the youthful sprightly woman spotted earlier was singer Joyce Terry Joyce came on the show to talk about Sax Appeal a great new documentary on The Ivy Benson Band which aired last Monday evening on Radio 2 Full of stories and anecdotes Joyce will definitely be back soon Sax Appeal will be available on the iPlayer for the next 30 days 04 Mar No Voice In the words of Tony Bennett I left my voice in Radlett Centre or maybe not But that is the last place I saw or rather heard my voice I d like to sincerely thank the fantastic audience who stuck with me till the bitter end of the performance There s a lot of the lurgy around judging by the pile of cough sweets and throat soothers people left for me at the CD stall I felt like a spurious trick or treater I was unable to present my weekly Radio 2 show thankfully the wonderful Guy Barker stood in for me at very short notice So here we are day 4 of miserable coughing and hoarseness I m grateful for all the remedies people have emailed in indeed I m trying as many as I can It seems drinking lots of water is top of the list so I m chugging as we speak alternating room temperature with hot water and fresh chopped ginger and homemade sage tea which smells like a liquid roast dinner both are very comforting Now I ve always been a huge advocate of hot water with ginger lemon and honey but some say that the acid in the lemon is bad for inflamed vocal folds who knew I m spooning honey and I ve tried a few propolis or bee glue lozenges Propolis is very popular amongst West End singers for keeping the voice in tip top condition but I m not sure if this is purely a preventative measure Another showbiz remedy is gargling with Sanderson s Throat Specific I ve also heard it called paint stripper but I ve ordered a bottle and will report my findings I started gargling with dissolvable aspirin but apparently this is a real no no for singers much better to stick to salt water or the sage tea gargle wise Regular listener to the show Maureen Lipman recommended fresh pineapple which contains bromelain an enzyme with anti inflammatory properties and it s packed with vitamin C This is definitely helping with pain and mood being one of my favourite foods One suggestion I m trying tonight as I haven t been sleeping which sounds wonderful is massaging the neck throat and glands with a mixture of tea tree and lavender oil I m big on recommendation and thought it only polite to pass on these pearls of wisdom Special thanks also to the fella who shared his pack of Worthers Originals with me 25 Feb Dentists There s a very nice cafe just along from the dentists I thought I d have a cup of tea whilst I write this in the vain hope it will take my mind off the fact that in 53 minutes I ll be two doors down with my heart in my boots I tell myself again and again that my fear of going to the dentist is totally irrational but where else does someone ask

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/category/thoughts/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    jayrayner1 BBCRadio2 TON 9pm https t co 3219ibpi3m 12 hours ago Sneak peak rehearsals cadoganhall ahead of tonight s concert https t co 8EpuSA0siX Feb 12 05 Jan Brighten up your January and book a show 2016 is going to be a busy one We are currently adding lots of new shows to our listings page so have a look and come along to see us and say hello Posted

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/brighten-up-your-january-and-book-a-show/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    them to think of a person a place and a thing eg Elvis Wigan aubergine writing one entry on each bit of paper Find a bowl remove any car keys and replace with completed paper strips Split into 2 teams Round 1 is like the game Articulate in that the nominated Team A player has one minute to describe to their teammates using any words except those written on the paper strips as many slips from the bowl as possible If the actual word is mistakenly uttered by the contestant control immediately passes to the opposite side and the timer is reset This round continues back and forth swapping players till all slips have been used up Round 2 is like Charades Put all the paper strips back in the bowl I seem to recall the time increases to 2 minutes per round but as it was New Year s Eve the old memory is a little bit hazy If the player miming accidentally says anything control immediately passes to the other side Proceed as before taking turns till all strips have been used up Onto round 3 providing you haven t all fallen out you should be getting the hang of things In this round you are only allowed to say one word to describe each paper slip and that word must obviously not be what s written on said paper slip 1 minute per contestant till all the slips are used You ll find more detailed instructions online I ve just heard of a new game that I m seriously up for having a go at It comes to you via Muddy s Aunty Jo I m not sure what it s called but the rules are quite simple Find more paper slips ask your guests to write

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/and-a-happy-new-year/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    at the previous gig Many singers have the ability to sing through any mic and sound amazing but a lot of us form close attachments to specific microphones I see it as an extension of my voice In the studio I use a Neumann U47 wherever possible a beautiful old valve mic built between 1949 1965 it gives great clear results adding magic to the upper mid frequencies incidentally it is George Martin s favourite microphone On the road my weapon of choice is a Shure Beta 87a at the risk of boring you all to tears I love this condenser microphone again it does lovely things to upper mid range but isn t boomy and has a really great reach meaning I can explore a big dynamic range Without it I feel a bit out of kilter although sometimes it s good to try new things As I write we re heading to Bath for our last gig of the year my brilliant Muddy is battling through rubbish weather on the M4 having driven 1000 s of miles this year our trusty manager Alison has made countless phone calls to track the microphone down and hopefully get it or a replacement on stage by 4 30 this afternoon Megan our fabulous bookkeeper is busy making sure all musicians invoices are paid before Christmas said musicians Jason Rebello Simon Little and Ben Reynolds are just leaving their homes to get to Bath in time for soundcheck Guy Barker MBE is currently glued to his computer writing beautiful arrangements for our new album to be recorded with The Halle Orchestra in February These charts over the next twelve months will be played by literally hundreds of musicians Many of them we have had the pleasure of working with this year Radio

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/merry-christmas/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    hours ago Sneak peak rehearsals cadoganhall ahead of tonight s concert https t co 8EpuSA0siX Feb 12 21 Dec British Jazz Awards 2015 We are pleased to announce that Clare has been awarded Jazz Vocalist 2015 in the British Jazz Awards Many many thanks to everyone that voted for me in the Jazz Vocalist category I am chuffed to bits to win It means such a lot especially with such

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/british-jazz-awards-2015-2/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    as it tends to dry out the old vocal chords but HELLO after all that I was totally ready to enjoy a lovely cold beer so when I saw that the seething mass surrounding the bar was three deep my heart sank It could be worse at least I can see people drinking beer it seems that most folks drink wine at these events I drink very little wine mainly because of said drying of vocal chords but also because at the age of 42 I am ready to admit I actually prefer the taste of beer Never mind I m happy to queue I m British Finally I get to the front to learn that the hospitality bar has now closed and all drinks must be paid for this isn t unusual and I m more than happy to pay my way but I m not too keen to queue for another half hour to get another round in so I decide to get as many drinks as I can safely carry that way I can spend more time with my friends and less with the barman who is very stressed and let s just say the chums who

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/note-to-self-sometimes-in-life-you-just-have-to-queue/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    Chatting over lunch as inevitably happens we found out more about each other This fella works in finance in what I would say is quite a serious occupation requiring intelligence commitment and a good level of concentration At the back of my mind I recalled him talking about surfing in Cornwall It turns out he s very good at surfing he s also a volunteer coastguard rescuing people such as climbers and animals who have got into difficulty on the cliffs or rocks By the time pudding came we discovered not only does he help the coastguards he also volunteers for the ambulance service and mountain rescue He even has a separate wardrobe for all his uniforms I had no idea how many volunteers assist the ambulance service He s on call 2 or 3 times a week and when that call comes he has six minutes to get to where he s needed He s saved a lot of lives but being a modest sort he wouldn t tell you and out of respect for said modesty I won t mention his name Over coffee we learned that our man plays guitar and never goes on holiday without a set of watercolours If they re still looking for a new Milk Tray Man I think we might have found him It s humbling that people like him quietly go about helping the community to the extent they do Huge respect and admiration to them and also lets not forget the partners who look after the kids and home in order for these guys to be on call Speaking of people actually rolling up their sleeves helping those in need jazz singer Ian Shaw has been back and forth to Calais for months now volunteering in the refugee camps physically building housing organising aid and putting on concerts both over there and over here to raise money and awareness I don t know many people who instead of getting angry reading about stuff in the news actually get on a train and jump right in there Massive thanks then to all the unsung heroes and heroines in our lives 11 Nov I m going on the bus next time Yes it hadn t been the greatest of journeys so far but regardless I was still in a pretty good mood as I pulled into Sandbach Services till I put the diesel nozzle into the fuel hole thing and saw to my absolute horror a MASSIVE scratch across the rear passenger door about a foot long and half a foot wide We only got the car a few months back and it was pretty much new It replaced a older model that I d accidentally wrapped around a pillar in an underground car park Muddy does most of the driving for a reason but to my defence this new car has sensors everywhere to limit the occurrence of future pillar wrappings At least I knew this incident genuinely wasn t my fault not that that made me feel any better I d spent a lovely couple of days up in Yorkshire with mum so whilst queuing to pay I wracked my brains where had I left the car in order for it to be hit It can t have happened at mum s place everyone s much too nice Could it have happened at Boundry Mill We spent a good few hours in there incidentally it just me or since Boundry Mill came to Colne has everyone in the immediate area started dressing the same There s definitely a Boundry look going on Did it happen in the car park of the well known German global discount supermarket chain based in Neckarsulm Germany with over 1000 branches across Europe including Colne Or did it happen when I first pulled into the services to use the facilities and buy a sandwich The thing is it doesn t really matter where it happened it s the fact that whoever did it didn t leave a note I had plenty of time to stew over the series of events as the usual 4 hour trip took an additional 3 hours thanks to road works A chap named Richard has had a look and reckons it ll take between 4 5 days at a minimum cost of 600 VAT To add insult to injury the excess payment on our policy is quite high so it s probably cheaper not to go through the insurance It s funny we pay to protect our no claims bonus but even if we did make a claim there s no guarantee the cost next year wouldn t increase I m going on the bus next time 28 Oct Yorkshire Mixture On Sunday Muddy and I had the pleasure of eating a delicious roast dinner with Sir Michael Parkinson at the Michelin starred Royal Oak in Paley Street run by Michael s son and his wife This broadcasting legend and his radio producer Anthony Cherry played my records from the start thereby encouraging other people to buy them and so the word spread He then invited me to sing on his TV show twice and that as you can appreciate really made a difference I along with so many singers will be eternally grateful for his support and encouragement He was in fabulous form and as busy as ever After coffee we presented him as a token of our appreciation with a bag of sweets or spice as my parents always called them not just any spice mind but a bag of Yorkshire Mixtures Being rather partial to a boiled sweet Sir P was most cheered but I was amazed when Michael said he d never tasted one before Perhaps we were dining with an imposter but no apparently these nuggets of pure joy never caught on in Barnsley and surrounding areas you may beg to differ of course To say Yorkshire Mixtures played an important role in my formative

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/page/2/?page_id=2 (2016-02-15)
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