Cleveland Watkiss is one of the most celebrated British jazz vocalists of his generation. He won the Ivor Novello Award for Innovation in 2021, and the Boisdale Music Award as Best Jazz Artist of the Year 2022.
During this very special show for the Watford Jazz Junction, Cleveland will be celebrating Jamaica’s long history of pioneering musical sounds. Along with his stellar band he will bring to life some of the greatest songs written by Jamaican legends from mento, ska and reggae to dub and roots. With classic tracks from legendary artists including Dennis Brown and Delroy Wilson, The Great Jamaican Songbook tells poignant stories about the times and the culture, with a deep and infectious rhythm.
‘From the bone-shaking power of Fatman Sound System to the sweet-toned vocals of 1970s greats such as Gregory Isaacs, reggae is an integral part of Watkiss’ musical DNA, and the Songbook pays fulsome homage both to the music’s golden period and to his own Jamaican roots.’ The Artsdeck
“Best Male Jazz Singer in England” Evening Standard
The band are a who’s who of celebrated UK jazz, pop, reggae and funk legends, each with their own strong reputation both within these scenes and way beyond. Expected line-up:
Cleveland Watkiss – Vocals
Byron Wallen - Trumpet
James Wade-Sired - Trombone
Orphy Robinson - Keys
Phil Ramocon - Keys
Alan Weekes - Guitars
Delroy Murray - Bass
Carl Robinson – Drums
More about Cleveland
Born in the East End of London, Cleveland Watkiss is a virtuoso vocalist, actor and composer. He was one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band. His vocals can be heard on their celebrated debut album, Out of Many People.
Across an astonishing career he has performed with many artists from around the world including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Jackie Mittoo, Keith Richards, the James Taylor Quartet, Art Blakey, Sly & Robbie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, Patife, the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Nigel Kennedy, Carlinhos Brown, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, The Who, Branford Marsalis, George Martin, Julian Joseph, Bocato Big Band, Lisa Stansfield, Courtney Pine, Janet Kay, Maxi Priest, Soul II Soul, the London Chamber Orchestra, Kassa Mady, the BBC Orchestra, Goldie, Cassandra Wilson, the Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Sugar Minot, Talvin Singh, Bjork, Pete Townshend, the London Community Gospel Choir [LCGC] and many many more.
For his services to music Watkiss was awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year Honours.