Main concert is now SOLD OUT. There will be a matinee performance 5-6pm – see separate entry on this website for details
Our Christmas Party this year features ‘Hejira’, a 7-piece band set up by guitarist Pete Oxley to celebrate the music of Joni Mitchell. The band is fronted by the brilliant Hattie Whitehead (daughter of outstanding saxophonist Tim Whitehead) who has assimilated the poise, power and beauty of Joni’s vocals, and plays guitar with Joni’s stylistic mannerisms
“Hejira” is a project that has rapidly blossomed into a highly successful touring band, set up to celebrate the music of Joni Mitchell. In particular, the band performs the masterpiece works that Mitchell captured on her live 1980 album, ‘Shadows and Light’. Much of the success of the group, Hejira, is down to Pete Oxley having selected a personnel that are not only great players in their own rights, but also great fans of this music. As with the band of top-drawer players in Joni’s Shadows and Light group(Metheny, Mays, Brecker, Pastorius and Alias), Hejira comprises highly experienced jazz musicians whose primary concern is to serve the music.
Hattie Whitehead: vocals and guitars
The band is fronted by the extraordinarily talented Hattie Whitehead, who not only sings masterfully with Joni’s pitch-accuracy, poise and dignity, but she also plays guitar much with the mannerisms of Mitchell (incorporating various open tunings – which lend an instant authenticity to the colour of the songs). Hattie grew up surrounded by music and musicians and has a career as a singer/songwriter outside of this band. In 2016, she won the ‘Emerging Talent’ competition at Glastonbury Festival. Her original songs have been listened to hundreds of thousands of times on various streaming platforms.
Pete Oxley: guitar
Pete grew up in a family of classical musicians, fell for jazz in his late teens, went on to study jazz at the Leeds College of Music, then moved to Paris in his mid twenties. It was there that he began gigging intensively and developing his career as a guitarist, composer and bandleader. He has produced 16 albums of critically acclaimed original music (including 7 with the Swiss guitar virtuoso, Nicolas Meier) and is one of only a handful of British composers to have their works included in the ‘European Real Book’ (Sher Publications). The Oxley-Meier Guitar Project continues to record and tour extensively throughout the UK and Europe.
Ollie Weston: saxophones
Since graduating from Leeds College of Music, Ollie has had a diverse career which has included education, session work and live performance. In the former of these, Ollie teaches at the Guildhall (London) and has major tutorial books published by Schott Music under the heading, ‘Exploring Jazz’. In the latter, Ollie has toured all over the world with such outfits as Amy Winehouse, Tim Minchin, Bonobo and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. He has also worked extensively in the West End, performing in Chicago, Dream Girls and in two critically acclaimed seasons at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Chris Eldred: piano and keyboards
Chris first came to prominence while playing in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), from 2008 to 2014. In the midst of that period, he was winner of the 2011 Yamaha Scholarship Award for Outstanding Jazz Musicians and graduated in the same year from Trinity College of Music with first class honours. With NYJO, he performed many high-profile gigs (such as at the Albert Hall Proms) and came to the attention of such established masters as Mark Lockheart, Jean Toussaint and Salena Jones, with whom he subsequently worked. He is now a regular performer at Ronnie Scott’s and is one of London’s most in-demand pianists.
Dave Jones: electric basses
Dave is one of the most brilliant bass players – on both electric and acoustic basses that the UK has produced! His deep musicianship has led him to work with, amongst others, John Etheridge, Bill Bruford, the BBC Big Band, Jacqui Dankworth, Willard White and Scott Hamilton. He is bandleader, arranger and composer of the ‘Dave Jones Nonet’, comprising the creme de la creme of UK jazz musicians. Dave is continually active in jazz education leading many courses at Richmond Jazz School where he also previously led the faculty and he is also regularly invited to teach on a number of international jazz summer schools.
Rick Finlay: drums
Rick’s career has seen him being perpetually occupied, dividing his time between London’s West End, education and performing as a jazz musician. In the former, Rick held the drum chair at Blood Brothers for twenty years and also played for The Little Shop of Horrors and Chess Time. As a freelancer, Rick has performed on many prestigious TV shows,including Parkinson, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and The Late Show. Rick has, for several years, been hosting the ‘Just East Jazz Club’ in North London, where he has accompanied most of the UK’s jazz glitterati!
Marc Cecil: percussion
Marc Cecil is a musician whose career has seen him work in myriad styles, performing at all sorts of premier venues, such as The Royal Opera House, Wembley Arena, The 02, Glastonbury Festival, The Jazz Cafe – Camden and Ronnie Scott’s. He was a member of “King Salsa”, the UK’s premier 12 piece salsa band for 17years. His extensive theatre work includes seasons with: Blood Brothers (west end), Billy Elliot (west end), Saturday Night Fever (west end), Footloose (tour), Streisand The Story (tour), The Chicago Blues Brothers (tour), Million Dollar Quartet (west end) and The Carpenter’s Story (tour).
In the jazz arena, Marc has worked with a ‘who’s who’ top UK musicians, including: Jason Rebello, Neil Angilly, Nigel Price, Art Themen, Jim Mullen, Picante, Jacqui Hicks, Snowboy, Noel McCalla, Liane Carol, Lily Dior, Geoff Gascoyne, Laurence Cottle, Alan Barns, Henry Lowther, and the Derek Nash Quartet.
Marc’s extraordinary drive, groove and use of sonic colours is an essential element of the whole Hejira soundscape.
Hear the music here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enDcYhvr6eY
“Hejira” – celebrating Joni Mitchell @Seven Arts Thursday 14 December 7pm This concert is now sold out. There will be an early evening performance at 5-6pm , see elsewhere on this website for details
Support (7.30-8pm) is from our own Richard Ormrod’s Instant World Orchestra