MP3 Emma Hutchinson - Hummingbirds
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11 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, URBAN/R&B: Soul
"Hummingbirds", the debut CD from British songwriter-vocalist Emma Hutchinson - out on her own Flying Jewel label - is currently available exclusively on the internet and at live gigs. Featuring 11 self-penned tracks the album is an addictive blend of wistful ballads, fresh funk and deliciously jazzy soul and was recorded at Jim Barr's (Portishead) J&J Studios in Bristol, UK during 2003.
"If I'm listening to music I want to hear a great song. Doesn't matter what genre it is - pop, soul, funk, jazz tunes - whatever! Intelligent lyrics and a catchy melody. So my M.O. is to write the kind of song I would like to hear on a CD or on the radio.
Vocal jazz has influenced me hugely. My Dad was a jazz singer and although he died when I was a child my Mum used to play me his records, so I grew up listening to classic songs by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, the Gershwins and so on. What else? I'm a Motown junkie. And the Beatles and Brian Wilson - great harmonies! Stevie obviously. Bacharach & David. Ashford & Simpson. Joni Mitchell. Carole King. Al Jarreau. Female vocalists? Aretha, of course. Roberta Flack. Chaka Khan.
Anyway, many songs on this CD were written when I was living in Hollywood in 1996. Some began as song-writing exercises I devised to learn jazz chords. It was 95 degrees and I'd be playing guitar and dripping sweat on Mickey Baker's jazz guitar book. Others I wrote in the summer of 2003 based on poetry I'd written which suggested a melody to me. I write about whatever is on my mind at the time. Were We Never In Love? is about my marriage break-up, Altaea is about my youngest niece and Homeless In Hollywood was sparked by the street people I used to chat with on Hollywood Boulevard.
Coming from a jazz background I get off on working with great musicians live in the studio and I'm very fortunate in having an incredible band of jazz musicians who 1) can play anything and who therefore 2) interpret my songs beautifully so that 3) I look great! Since they can read each other's minds, generally we only do 2 or 3 takes of each song. Then I choose the best overall take and overdub the backing vocals. Because I do a lot of gigs I'm used to singing live with bands generally and reacting to their playing - and vice versa. In fact I often end up using the guide vocal on the finished track as it tends to have an atmosphere and an electricity that I don't get singing along to the band after the event. An example of that is Nature Takes Me In Her Arms. That was the 3rd take and the lead vocal is one live take, no drop-ins."
EH/lead & backing vocals
Gary Bamford/Fender Rhodes, organ
The youngest daughter of legendary jazz and cabaret singer-pianist "Hutch" (Leslie A. J. Hutchinson), Emma Hutchinson doesn't remember her father who died when she was four. He was nonetheless a big influence; she listened to his records as a child and learned many jazz standards by osmosis. Fascinated by singing but wishing to tread a different path from her father she initially rejected jazz and began singing back-ups in soul and funk cover bands.
In 1992 she joined British a capella group Sweet Soul Sisters as a songwriter/vocalist. Sell-out concerts, international radio & TV appearances and the hugely popular "Freshly Squeezed" CD followed. After performing with the band in Canada in 1995 Emma moved to Hollywood.
In L.A. she learned jazz guitar and music theory and studied jazz real books to rediscover the repertoire associated with her father. Participating in drummer Billy Higgins' famous jazz workshops and sitting-in at gigs and jam sessions honed her vocal jazz chops.
Returning to the UK in 2000 Emma settled in Bristol and formed the Emma Hutchinson Quintet and the Emma Hutchinson Blues Band before beginning work on "Hummingbirds".
In 2004 she will be promoting Hummingbirds and continuing to write songs for her second album, which is half-complete.
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