Primary Instrument: Vocal
As you explore Aimua Eghobamien's personal background his musical style begins to fall in place. With a dad who listened to a world of music from British Pop to Highlife and Calypso; a mum who sang him Ẹdo lullabies; and siblings who were interested in all things American (Motown, Soul, US Pop and R&B charts) his musical tastes developed without limitations. London-born, he has lived at various points on three continents and experienced at firsthand Nigerian drums and folk, European Pop and American R&B. His own performance experience includes Theatre, Gospel, Rock, Pop, Contemporary Christian, R&B, Soul and the Blues. That all these find a home in his jazz repertoire is a testament to jazz’s open arms and Eghobamien’s passion in embracing diverse influences.
Eghobamien studied Jazz Vocal Performance and Creative Writing at university in New York; taught by the Tony and Emmy Award-winning American singer and actress Lillias White and the legendary jazz singer Sheila Jordan. He studied voice with Mark Oswald, one of the Metropolitan Opera’s leading voice teachers. He was a member of Barry Harris’ Jazz Ensemble Choir and the Times Square Church Choir. Though a vocalist, he draws constant inspiration from many influences especially Nina Simone, Cassandra Wilson, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Fela Kuti and Babatunde Olatunji.
In his current project, Black Sessions, Eghobamien marries all his influences on one stage, combining his jazz and classical backgrounds with Nigerian roots and contemporary sensibilities to reach beyond the limits of genre classification. With original compositions, freshly realised arrangements (of music by Gabriel Fauré, Henry Purcell, Johann Sebastian Bach, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter and Randy Newman) and an exhilarating ensemble this programme is a lyrical exploration of one artist's formation. Collaborating on arrangements and joining the ensemble for the dazzling Kings Place premiere were bassist Jerome Davies (astute arrangements Sunday Times), violinist Julian Ferraretto (sinuous and dynamic... phenomenal skills Real Time Arts) and pianist Rob Barron (BBC Big Band, Phil Woods, Bryan Adams, English National Ballet’s Gershwin project). In addition, Chris Wells on percussion, Mandy Drummond on violin, Naomi Fairhurst on viola and Kate Shortt on cello.
Last year Eghobamien released and toured his debut album, Poured Gently, to rave reviews. The album combines fresh and unusual arrangements of jazz and pop standards from Ellington, Monk, Gershwin, Stevie Wonder and Bon Jovi with haunting and melodic original compositions and thoughtful lyrics.
Appearances include an on-going monthly residency at The Pheasantry, dates at Pizza On the Park, the Spice of Life, the Vortex Jazz Club, Ray’s Jazz, Café in the Crypt and Hugo’s. The Poured Gently tour, with pianist Glafkos Kontemeniotis, bassist Jerome Davies and drummer Rod Youngs, included Pizza Express Jazz Club London, National Theatre Foyer London, Matt and Phred’s Jazz Club Manchester, St Lawrence Chapel Ashburton, Jazz at the Lescar Sheffield, Pave Hull, and CaféJazz and Jazz at Dempsey’s Cardiff. He has performed with some of the UK’s favourite jazz musicians including Barry Green, Tim Richards, Gunther Kürmayr, Gary Crosby OBE, Mark Hodgson, Oli Hayhurst, Matt Home and Sebastiaan de Krom.
Jazz vocals with absolute gentleness. ...He is a true, thoroughly exciting, original. JazzTimes
Eghobamien's voice is rich and sure, relying for its considerable effect on its resonance and timbre... Poured Gently is an absorbing and original set, intelligently programmed and elegantly performed. Vortex CD Reviews
There's something magical about his voice. BBC Radio Ulster
Stunning CD, ...great work, 'you just don't jazz, you rock!' Rádio Europa Lisboa
...brings a wealth of experience and tastes to this debut CD. Strong performances of jazz classics...set against his own distinctive work. The Northern Echo
All of the selections of Poured Gently appear to have been selected carefully for numerous reasons, such as variety of styles, infinite moods and in the end a musical portrait of a singular singer, Aimua Eghobamien. EJAZZNEWS
Tracks: 1. Estlin's Dream; 2. A Child Is Born; 3. Migration; 4. Passion Poured Gently; 5. Fascinating Rhythm; 6. In A Sentimental Mood; 7. Listen To Monk [Rhythm-A- Ning]; 8. Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer; 9. 'Tis What It Is; 10. So Many Stars; 11. It's My Life; 12. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing); 13. Benediction.
Aimua Eghobamien: voice
Glafkos Kontemeniotis: piano
Ed Kollar: double bass
Bashiri Johnson: percussion
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