Like Catch A Fire? You’re absolutely gonna LOVE MOTOWN!


JAZZ JAMAICA ALL STARS are back! This time with a sensational musical extravaganza – LOVE MOTOWN! – as they join forces once again with Urban Soul Orchestra and Southbank Centre’s Voicelab in a joyous celebration of the great love songs of the iconic Motown record label.

Building on the spectacular success of last summer’s Catch A Fire extravaganza in Royal Festival Hall, this new show has been created especially for Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love.

SBC Love Festival Logo

Love Motown! super-sizes the regular Jazz Jamaica’s acclaimed ‘small band’ album project, Motorcity Roots into a powerful 32-piece orchestra with big band horns, strings, and backing singers (remember ‘Dem Three’…!), plus soulful vocals from Noel McKoy and Beverley Skeete, and a 200-voice Voicelab choir.

Sing and dance along to new arrangements by maestro music arranger, Jason Yarde of your favourite Motown classics  including Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, The Jackson 5’s I’ll Be There, The Supremes’ Can’t Hurry Love, The Commodores’ Easy, The Isley Brothers’ This Old Heart Of Mine and many more!

If you liked Catch A Fire, you are absolutely going to Love Motown!

Here’s what audiences said about Jazz Jamaica’s last show…

Awesome, just AWESOME!…Fantastic!…Bloody brilliant!…I’ve never had such a brilliant night!…I never shake my booty so much!…Fabulous!…I want to go again!

We’ll be posting snippets from the rehearsal room during the week before the show so keep an eye (and ear) out to catch a glimpse of what’s coming to the Royal Festival Hall on 19 July. Meantime, here’s a reminder of how fantastic this outfit is – see the trailer from last year’s Catch A Fire show!

Co-produced by Southbank Centre and Lively Up! Festival in association with Tomorrow’s Warriors.

Now Is The Time…for the tour to end


We had the most FANTASTIC time in Truro on Saturday (18 Jan) when we presented Denys Baptiste‘s powerful Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring! at Hall for Cornwall. What a beautiful venue, and such friendly, helpful venue staff.

We also worked with a brilliant new choir, the Falmouth Community Gospel Choir who sang so beautifully and clearly had a spectacular time if their Facebook post is anything to go by:

A huge thank you goes out to Denys Baptiste and all the members of the Now is the Time Tour.. Let Freedom Ring! Fantastic musicians and truly lovely people to work with. A real privilege for us to be invited to take part in your concert. A very inspired event. FCGC here for you when you come back 🙂

Honestly, ladies and gents, you sounded amazing and the impact was awesome. Please do keep on keeping on! We…

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RIP Madiba

Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.
– Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)


RIP Nelson Mandela (Courtesy of Nelson Mandela Foundation)

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
Nelson Mandela

Individually and collectively, we are heartbroken at your passing, but rejoice in your life, your leadership, your truth, and your inspiration. Most of all we rejoice in your love. You are a true Warrior. Thank you, Madiba. May you rest in beautiful peace.

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Listen again: Robert Elms interviews Denys Baptiste on BBC London

BBC Robert Elms-Denys Baptiste interview

Great interview with Denys Baptiste by the wonderful Robert Elms on BBC Radio London last week ahead of his show at Harrow Arts Centre. Lovely to hear Robert acclaim Denys’ album, Let Freedom Ring! (Dune Records, DUNECD010) as ‘one of the most eloquent statements to have come out of British jazz in years’. We agree! It is an extraordinary, very special piece of music that has become a modern-day jazz classic.

Just a couple more days left to catch the interview on the BBC iPlayer. Click here, then scroll through to 02:34:22. Enjoy!

So what do YOU think happened the only time Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong played together?

Bix: Singing The Blues

Denys BaptisteDenys Baptiste has been interviewed on BBC Radio 3 to provide a bit of a prelude to a new BBC Radio 3 drama, Bix: Singing The Blues  by Robert Forrest to be broadcast this Sunday 17 November at 10.00pm. Set against a backdrop of racial and musical segregation in the 1920s, the play gives a fictionalised version of the one and only time Bix and Louis Armstrong played together in a private, after-hours session.

According to the BBC programme notes:

Louis ArmstrongApart from their genius, the musicians Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong had little in common. Armstrong was black and Beiderbecke was white and musical segregation was complete in the 1920’s. Armstrong would go on to be one of the first musicians to challenge this racial divide, and his life story is well documented. Beiderbecke was an alcoholic who died young – but perhaps his greatest tragedy was that he never got to play with the best – because in his view the best were black.

Set your reminder now! BBC Radio 3 Sunday 17 November at 10.00pm

A Final Teaser…if you’re yet to be convinced?

“We will civilize you”

Lemn Sissay’s extraordinary poetry standing tall with Denys Baptiste’s compositions: Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring!

Book tickets to see it live at Harrow Arts Centre on Thursday 21 November by clicking HERE.

If you missed us at the London Southbank Centre performance, now really is the time…

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King

Through music we remember Martin Luther King, his words and the movements of peace and equality that he stood for.

Some shots from Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank last month:


Look exciting? Theres still time!

And if you missed the gig last month – we’re still on tour and will be at the Harrow Arts Centre on November 21st with Denys Baptiste, the full 13-piece band (as seen above) and the stirring voices of Lemn Sissay and Ben Okri delivering poetry which not only underlines Yeast Culture’s archival Civil Rights footage, but also incites a united sense of social change among audience and performer alike. Tickets are now on sale for just £15!

Now is the time…


BBC Four: Martin Luther King and the March on Washington to be repeated

This excellent documentary is being repeated on Wednesday 6 November. If you missed the previous broadcast, do your best to see it this time round. Some great insights into the Black Civil Rights movement and its leaders, and the story behind Dr King’s historic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.  Well worth the effort to see it.

The March On Washington

If you missed us last weekend….

We’ll be at  Harrow Arts Centre on  21 November with the wonderful, specially created Harrow Community Gospel Choir. Hope to see you there!

Denys 01

LFR Choir 01 Wide + Screen 01

4 stars review for Denys Baptiste: NOW IS THE TIME…LET FREEDOM RING!

Denys Baptiste - Now Is The Time...Let Freedom Ring @ QEHAnd here’s a very nice 4-stars review from the Financial Times:

An 80-voice choir and a string quartet served notice of the ambitions of saxophonist Denys Baptiste’s reworked celebration of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech….Read on