The Jazz Podcast

Esther Bennett

February 20, 2023 Rob Cope & Tara Minton
The Jazz Podcast
Esther Bennett
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It would be impossible to have grown up in the multicultural melting pot of Birmingham and not have your very soul steeped in music.
I was born between Balsall Heath and Moseley;  home of Ocean Colour Scene, UB40, The Beat, the drummer Bev Bevan,  the “Mostly Jazz Festival”  and for a short while,  the writer J.R.R Tolkien. My local high street, Ladypool road, now famous for it’s Balti restaurants,  had at one end of it one of the most renowned Reggae record shops in Britain; “Don Christie’s”. 

Halfway down was “The Red Lion” pub where live jazz was played three nights a week. It’s claim to fame was infact, having been the location for the UB40 video “Red, Red Wine” a few years earlier but for me,  it was a  wonderful new world into which I snuck (all at a much too early age and of course unbeknown to my parents) and where I absorbed not only jazz,  but a bohemian, slightly naughty and thrilling world where grown ups drank and partied (mine didn’t)  and where there was something exciting in the air that I couldn’t  quite  fathom or quite put a name to yet but… I think it began with S. Further down this same road led to Moseley Village,  an area known for being creative, cosmopolitan and the focus of artistic and student activities with plenty of pubs, restaurants and live music, home of The Moseley Folk Festival and of the aforementioned “Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul” Festival.

My first proper CD as a vocalist was “Just in Time” and was produced by award winning jazz singer Ian Shaw. It was launched at The 606 Club in 2005 and I’ve continued on a brilliant jazz singer journey ever since, whilst at all times following the advice that bass player Geoff Gascoyne gave me  to “Always play with the best people. Don’t be afraid to call them. They’ll take the gig!”

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