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Liane Carroll Interview Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

 

Liane Carroll with BBC Awards, photo courtesy of BBCInterview with 2005 BBC Award-Winning Jazz vocalist/ pianist/ songwriter Liane Carroll and Producer Neal Richardson.

 

 

I first heard Liane Carroll perform at Pizza Jazz Express in London in November 2003, and have enthusiastically watched her career progress to her latest accomplishment of winning 2 BBC Jazz Awards in 2005.

Career highlights include the highly acclaimed Billy No Mates cd, (2003 Splash Point Records), receiving 2 BBC Jazz Awards on July 2, 2005 for “Best of Jazz” and “Best Vocalist,” and her latest critically acclaimed cd, Standard Issue, (October 3, 2005, Splash Point Records); both of which were reviewed in the Music Scene. Liane Carroll and Producer, Neal Richardson of Splash Point Records, recently took time out for an interview.

                            

Liane Carroll with 2  BBC Awards, photo courtesy of BBC
Liane Carroll with 2 BBC Awards, photo courtesy of BBC

Debra:   
Liane, you are the only person ever to win 2 BBC Jazz Awards in one year (2005), which was a tremendous achievement, and certainly a celebration of your talent. What was it like to be recognized by the BBC?

 

Liane:
It was amazing to even be nominated for the BBC Jazz awards, especially in two categories. I was far more nervous at having to perform one of my songs with Guy Barker’s big band on the night that I forgot about the actual awards. I think I was the only one who didn’t realise that I stood a chance, and when I won both of them, I was deeply humbled, especially to be presented them by heroes of mine like Humphrey Littleton and Sir John Dankworth. I had a few glasses of wine that night and rather a bad head the next day!!

 

Debra:
“Billy No Mates” (2003) was released “under the radar” and received excellent reviews. What was it like to release “Standard Issue” in October 2005, with the tremendous anticipation for this release, after winning the BBC Jazz Awards in July 2005?

 

Liane:
Obviously, I was a bit nervous of the reaction to “Standard Issue”, after all the interest from the jazz press, but to be honest, I was so proud of the cd and everyone who had worked on it, that I thought “they’d better like it!!”

 

Debra:
You co-produced “Standard Issue” with David Hentschel (Yellowjackets, Genesis, Elton John) and Neal Richardson of Splash Point Records. What was it like working with them, and how were the songs selected for this release?

 

Liane:
I had worked with Neal on the last Splash Point cd I had made “Billy No Mates”, so we were very familiar, comfortable and trusting of each other's ideas and work styles. He really is a pleasure to work with. I am sure he must use hair dye now to cover up the grey ones that I have given him over the last 3 years! David was exactly as I imagined: professional, wonderfully sensitive and the biggest musical ears, so we just ploughed straight through the day making lovely music. It really was an honour working with all of them. I selected the songs on the day apart from “How Insensitive”, which I had booked Bobby Wellins and John Parricelli to play with me, and also “You’ve got a Friend” with the wonderful Ian Shaw. But apart from that, I had so much confidence in Roger Carey and Greg Leppard (my amazing rhythm section) that I knew we would just feel it on the day, and we did!

 

Debra:
Neal, how did you come to start working with Liane Carroll?

 

Neal:
I saw her playing a gig near where I live and just thought "Wow!" (as everyone does). I KNEW that this was someone who I would love to be involved with, and as I had just finished equipping my studio at that time, including the fruition of a two-year search for just the "right" grand piano, I asked Liane if she'd like to come and record and launch my fledgling Record Label. I must give credit to my colleague Andy Drudy - I think it was actually his idea! The result was the amazing "Billy No Mates" album.

 

Debra:
Neal, “Standard Issue” was recorded at Studio One at the Abbey Roads Studio. How did you come to select the Abbey Roads studio for this release?

 

Neal:
Liane wanted to do a band album, with various line-ups, so we needed space. I'm a piano player by trade, so I wanted to get the BEST possible piano sound possible... not least because I felt Liane's talent deserves it! We researched and found that the best studio piano in the UK is in that Studio - they use it for all the big film scores, etc. And what could be better than going to Abbey Road?!  By then we had recruited Dave Hentschel (Elton John/Yellowjackets etc) to engineer/produce the session, so it was lining up as the best of the best, which I was thrilled about. It turned out to be a magic day.

 

Debra:
Liane, what was it like recording there, especially covering the Beetles own Eleanor Rigby?

 

Liane:
It was like walking into a musical historical wonderland! The place has such an atmosphere about it and we just HAD to do a Beatles song out of respect. I chose Eleanor Rigby, as it was always one of my favourites. I hope we did it justice!

 

Debra:
You work with an amazingly talented group on “Standard Issue”, including singing a duet with Ian Shaw (2004 BBC Best Jazz Vocalist), Greg Leppard (drums, back-up vocals), Roger Carey (bass guitar, back-up vocals), Bobby Wellins (tenor saxophone), John Parricelli (guitar), and Andy Drudy, Sue Richardson and Neal Richardson who provide back-up vocals. What was it like working with this group?

 

Liane:

As I said earlier, I have nothing but the utmost respect for these guys, I have worked with Roger for 20 years and Greg for 11 years. I have known Ian Shaw for 16 years so were are all pretty comfortable with each other and it made for a lovely warm day.


 

Debra:
For “Billy No Mates”, you wrote 4 original songs (Three Sheets to the Wind, Fly Little Bird, Dublin Morning, Billy No Mates). For “Standard Issue,” you only included the catchy fast-tempo, Three Sheets to the Wind. Can we look forward to hearing more of your original songs in the future?

 

Liane:
Yes!! I hope so, when I can get a spare minute to write something, I am always having ideas but don’t always have the confidence to carry them through, it’s often like that!

 

Debra:
You play with your husband, Roger Carey (bass guitar). Do you ever collaborate on songs?

 

Liane:
Roger and I play together about 50% of the time; the other times, we have our own projects, which I think is healthy for a marriage where both partners share the same career. Roger is one of the most talented, musical and generous people I have ever known. He is a consummate musician and so professional all the time. We don’t write together as we have different styles, which is also important but we talk about music constantly.

 

Debra:
Have you started on your next project yet? Do you have any projects that you have always wanted to do?

 

Liane:

 

I am always thinking about new projects and tend to get a bit overexcited about it all. I am hoping (when I have spoken to Neal!) to do another semi-solo cd, produced by Ian Shaw called “Girl Americana” which features lots of songs by my favourite American women singer/songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Janis Ian, etc.

 

Debra:
You have been playing piano and singing since you were three. When did you decide that you wanted to become a professional musician, and how did you get your start?

 

Liane:
I was raised in a household full of love, encouragement and music, all kinds of music so that always seemed the way to go. I never wanted to do anything else for as long as I can remember. Actually, I can’t do anything else! I can’t drive, can barely boil an egg etc., but through the encouragement of family, friends and teachers, I have soldiered on. It has not been easy, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be.

 

Debra:
Who has influenced you as a musician?

 

Liane:
If I gave you a list of my influences, you would not have space for anything else! Many lovely people like Nina Simone, Laura Nyro, Tom Waites, so many of them and I keep hearing new people all the time that turn me on, so it’s a wonderful way to do research for my job and to be moved by music.

 

Debra:
What’s next? Do you have any international tours planned?

 

Liane:

My trio is performing in New York for the jazz festival at the end of April, and I think we are off to Japan in September and Australia at Christmas (lunch on the beach!) I am also involved in a trio project with Chris Poleglase (the jungle drummer) and double bassist Andy Waterworth called “Final Demand” with some pretty hard hitting jazz/dance music, which we are looking forward to. It is such a great way to travel the world and get paid for it.

I am eternally grateful for this opportunity which I have been given and I hope I can continue for as long as possible, thank you.

© March 2006. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.

 
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