Born: 1978 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Raised in Hove, East Sussex and now based in London, Kaz made her stage debut singing solo at the age of four at the Brighton Dome.
She studied Music at Goldsmiths University and Trinity College of Music and shortly after graduating, recorded her first album, the jazz based, Take Me Home (33 Records).
In 2005 she was a finalist in the international www.jazzconnect.com competition, which featured 147 contestants from all around the world.
She has performed with the likes of Lyn Dobson (Manfred Mann, Dusty Springfield, Nick Drake) and Jamie Cullum, Ife Tolentino and jazz wunderkind Gwilym Simcock is featured on Take Me Home.
In 2007 she formed a record label, Fast Awake and released her second jazz album, Different Smile which showcased her songwriting skills for the first time, as well as her love of Brazilian music.
Her third album Dandelions (Fast Awake, 2011) was a new departure for Kaz. It featured all her own songs, ranging from one of the first she ever wrote, to a song inspired by a trip to Peru. An intimate, autobiographical insight into her world where she fused the Spanish classical guitar music of her youth as well as Brazilian, pop and jazz to create quirky twists and turns. Dandelions garnered favourable press reviews and ample airplay on BBC Radio 2, 3, 6, London and other regional stations, as well as in Australia, Japan and Germany.
And to 2013 and the release of Signs (Fast Awake). Another new direction, with the new inclusion of electric guitar maestro (Martin Kolarides) and swirly organ-master, Will Bartlett. Incorporating influences as diverse as progressive rock and musical theatre, it is a sound that is entirely unique, yet absorbing and accessible.
“I’ve had a real 1970s obsession over the last few years and I think it’s reflected in the album,” explains Kaz. “It’s still very me, but quite a dramatic new direction and I hope a more grown-up sound. You can still hear my jazz roots, but there are psychedelic parts now – early Genesis and Pink Floyd influences and using my friend Martin Kolarides on electric guitar has brought a whole new dimension to the sound.”
“She’s a unique sounding singer, she doesn’t sound like anyone else, her songs don’t sound like anyone else” – Jamie Cullum, BBC Radio 2
“What was that phrase? “We make our own way”. That’s the way which seems to suit Kaz Simmons, and is bringing her increasing recognition as a highly individual and persuasive songwriter” – Sebastian Scotney, The Telegraph
“The range of colours and moods that the London-based vocalist and guitarist serves up here is quite astonishing” – Peter Quinn, Jazzwise
“A very fine new album” - Jamie Cullum, BBC Radio 2
“Somehow adept at handcuffing the listener so that one song is not enough…Simmons punctuates the album with grace and simplicity, while being craftily intricate”- R2 Rock’n’ Reel Magazine
“Combining a voice of crystalline purity, a neat lyrical touch, some superb backing musicians and a few lushly romantic arrangements, Kaz Simmons’ Dandelions has a gorgeous heart and a few twists and turns that surprise, delight and occasionally mystify by turn” �� All About Jazz
“Sympathetic souls will appreciate her gentle candour and sincere ingenuousness, and the album as a whole certainly provides a welcome antidote to the macho posturing of much contemporary pop, male and female” �� LondonJazz
A shining future for her is assured, Musician Magazine
It's a beautiful record, beautifully performed and recorded Mark Lockheart
Simmons brings a graceful charm and insinuating ease that makes the album simply melt in the ear, Chris Parker, www.vortexjazz.co.uk
TAKE ME HOME:
“On the front cover it says: “Take Me Home” and you ought to” Richard Niles, BBC Radio 2
“Absolute clarity of diction, a nice line in scat, an exuberant vocal quality and an inventive arranger…Take Me Home perfectly encapsulates the enormous potential of singer Kaz Simmons” Jazzwise
“A commendable achievement…her bright chirpy optimistic approach is very enjoyable” In Tune International
“A young vocal bomb waiting to explode onto the Jazz Idiom” ejazznews.com
“She takes the music in new and wonderful directions” JazzReview.com
Fast Awake Records
23rd May 2011
Kaz Simmons - vocals and guitar
Also featuring: Ivo Neame, Sam Crockatt, James Allsopp, Fulvio Sigurta, Simon Thorpe, Riaan Vosloo, Dave Smith, Tim Giles, Oli Langford, Max Baillie, Nozomi Cohen, Lucy Railton
Fast Awake Records
Kaz Simmons - vocals and guitar Also featuring: Ivo Neame, Sam Crockatt, Simon Thorpe, Dave Smith, Ife Tolentino
Take Me Home
33 Jazz Records
Kaz Simmons - vocals Also featuring: Matt Dungey, Sam Crockatt, Simon Thorpe, Dave Smith, Anton Browne
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