Another sold out show for Jazz Jamaica All Stars

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Photos by Kwame Lestrade except where indicated

Big thanks to all of the 2,000+ fans and supporters who came to our sold out Royal Festival Hall Love Motown! show on 19 July. Once again, our fans turned up in their thousands on one of the hottest days of the year to see us pay tribute to the music from the Motorcity. By the end of the show, we had everyone up on their feet and dancing, if not in the street, then definitely in the seats and the aisles of this iconic venue.

It was set to be a fantastic show but, regrettably, we faced quite a few glitches, which were evident on the day. As a result we fell short of the very high bar we set ourselves. We are very sorry about this. It’s clear, from the feedback we’ve received, that the vast majority of people really enjoyed the show but a few of our fans felt let down, and for this we must apologise.

Those of you who have followed us over the years will know we are committed to high quality and exceptional audience experiences and we work tirelessly to achieve this. As part of this commitment, we conduct post-event reviews and evaluate all feedback so that we can continuously improve and exceed expectations.

We appreciate all comments received that will assist this process. Thank you!

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And thanks also to everyone who contributed to Love Motown!Jazz Jamaica All Stars, members of Urban Soul Orchestra and Tomorrow’s Warriors, the incredible Southbank Centre Voicelab and choir leader, Mark De Lisser, and lead vocalists Beverley Skeete and Noel McKoy. Thanks also to music arranger, Jason Yarde and our musical director, Kevin Robinson for their brilliant contributions, and to Southbank Centre, our co-producers.

When all is said and done, there was great joy and fun on the night and  towards the end of this week we’ll be posting some video footage online so that everyone can relive some of the best moments of Love Motown!



TimeOut says: DON’T MISS OUT on Jazz Jamaica All Stars’ LOVE MOTOWN!


To book tickets, click on the image to go straight to the Southbank Centre online booking page! Don’t Stop In The Name Of Love, just get your skates on and book now for this joyous musical extravaganza!TimeOut Love Motown Preview

Nation’s Favourite Motown Song

ITV Nation's Favourite Motown Song

Did you see the Nation’s Favourite Motown Song on ITV on Sunday night? It was great! I’d forgotten how expansive the catalogue actually is and, in particular, how many great intros they created (with some equally great bass lines!).

Seriously, the Motown Hit Factory had some of the most extraordinary songwriting talent in their midst. That their music endures – cross-generation across generations – is testament to their supreme craftsmanship (no pun intended). I’ve seen adult audiences singing and dancing along to Jazz Jamaica’s version of Mary Wells’ My Guy, whilst my youngest daughter and her friends were Dancing In The Street (or rather in our living room!) and hitting up the Motown catalogue at her birthday party just a few weeks ago.

So I think regardless of age, the Motown catalogue continues to hold a fascination for those who just appreciate great music.

If you missed the ITV programme, you can catch it on the ITV Player until 2 August. And, of course, you can catch Jazz Jamaica All Stars live Motown extravaganza, Love Motown! for one night only at Royal Festival Hall, London on Friday 19 July with our friends from Urban Soul Orchestra, Beverley Skeete, Noel McKoy and the incredible Southbank Centre Voicelab choir.

Like ‘Catch A Fire’? Then you’re gonna ‘LOVE MOTOWN!’


Big news! I’m bringing Jazz Jamaica All Stars back to the Royal Festival Hall, London this summer for another great gig: Love Motown! 

We’re revisiting the Motown project I did as an album project with the 10-piece Jazz Jamaica back in 2005 (Motorcity Roots, Dune Records DUNECD012), but super-sizing the band like we did last time we were at the RFH. We’re also coming with some new arrangements by master music arranger, Jason ‘Yardie’ Yarde – who did the music for Catch A Fire.

Southbank - Festival of LoveWhen we did Motorcity Roots originally, the economics of it meant we could only record it with our regular line-up and some guest vocalists (Omar, Juliet Roberts, Mary Pearce, Zara McFarlane, Wesley Lucas, and bringing gravitas to the proceedings, the great Sir [now Lord] Bill Morris). Although it was a good album (and still is), I’d always heard it in my head as Jazz Jamaica All Stars with all the trimmings. So, when Southbank Centre invited me to create something for their Festival Of Love, I jumped at the chance to revive this project and realise that big phat sound I’d heard in my head all those years ago.

So, we’re upscaling the band to 32-piece, augmenting the regular band with big band horns, ‘Dem Three‘ (remember our brilliant backing vocalists from Catch A Fire?), strings section from Urban Soul Orchestra, 200 voices from the incredible Southbank Centre Voicelab Choir, and adding two of the most soulful voices in the UK: the wonderful Beverley Skeete and Noel McKoy.

It’s been a while coming, but I know it’s going to be a great show. BOOK NOW to get best seats (not that you’ll be sitting down for long once the music starts!)




SOLD OUT! Catch A Fire blows the roof off Royal Festival Hall

Catch A Fire - Jazz Jamaica All Stars sold out Royal Festival Hall - July 2013

Catch A Fire – Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Urban Soul Orchestra & Brinsley Forde sold out Royal Festival Hall – July 2013

Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Urban Soul Orchestra & Brinsley Forde & Voicelab Choir @ Royal Festival Hall, London - July 2013

Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Urban Soul Orchestra & Brinsley Forde & Voicelab Choir @ Royal Festival Hall, London – July 2013

Unbelievable! We did it! We sold out the Royal Festival Hall with Catch A Fire on Saturday night and blew the roof off! That’s our second sold out Catch A Fire show at Southbank Centre in 9 months (we filled the Queen Elizabeth Hall last October when we were touring as part of the Lively Up! Festival). Just incredible, the sea of people on and off the stage!

Big thanks to everyone who came and supported, and to the band and choir for being totally awesome. There were flames flying off the stage, the band and singers were on FIYAH, and the audience up on their feet, dancing and singing from the second tune!

I saw so many old friends in the crowd, some of whom I haven’t seen for years – wonderful catching up with some of them after the show. And it was great to see such a diverse group of people, on and off the stage. Just goes to show what a unifying effect this music has. Respect to Bob Marley and The Wailers! Respect to Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Urban Soul Orchestra, Brinsley Forde and the wonderful Voicelab choir.

Such an amazing, unforgettable night, and what a great after-party backstage – it was rammed! Even though the party’s over, we’re all still flying high on the great vibes and will be for a very long time to come!

Oh, in case anyone’s wondering where I disappeared to while Brinsley and the strings played Redemption Song, I went up to the rear stalls to sit with some of my family and watch the show. I’d been dying to see/hear the show from the audience’s perspective but, as the band leader, have never had the chance. Our decision to play a voice and strings only version of Redemption Song provided my first, possibly only chance to see the show live. Unfortunately, when I tried to get back, I couldn’t find the hidden door at the side of the stage! The ushers looked completely bemused and were asking me for my ticket! Fortunately, someone finally opened the door and let me in! Probably won’t be doing that again!

Peace and love.

URGENT: Male Voices needed for Catch A Fire (Catch A Choir) at Southbank Centre


Shout out to any brilliant male vocalists in the London area who are interested in joining the 70+ voice VoiceLab choir for our Catch A Fire show in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre, London on Wednesday 24 October as part of the Lively Up! Festival marking 50 Years of Jamaican Independence.

Joining us we have the incredible Brinsley Forde (Aswad) and strings from the fantastic Urban Soul Orchestra plus Southbank Centre resident choir champions, Voicelab who are putting together a massive choir to add depth to songs from Bob Marley & The Wailers seminal Catch A Fire album.

If interested please email: with CATCH A FIRE in the subject header.

The show at Southbank Centre will have more than 100 people on stage and is going to be pretty amazing so, forget ‘Soon come’ and instead  Usain Bolt Yourself and send off that email pronto!

Check out one of the band’s rehearsals here