Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Real Deal

At the Silvershine Jazz Club's tribute to Andy Hamilton we caught up with just two of the people that he’d had a huge influence on, Roy Forbes and Kevin McCann.

Roy sang with Andy Hamilton for over 13 years and guested on his album 'Jamaica By Night'. He started working with Andy by total chance and remembers the first time he heard Andy play the sax, recalling that he was “hypnotised”. After that first moment he used to go to watch him play every week.

One night Roy found the courage to get up and perform, singing 'All of me’, and 'Summertime' as part of Andy's set. Roy got a standing ovation and from then on he became part of Andy's ever evolving jazz collective. Since then Roy’s performed at Bearwood Jazz a few times and toured Germany, France, Italy and St Lucia with Andy, in Roy’s own words, “the best times” of his life.

Like many people Roy misses Andy's encouragement and the support he gave to his fellow musicians, he’s the first to acknowledge that without Andy he simply wouldn’t have pursued his singing career.

Roy's fondest memory of Andy was at a club in Kingston, Jamaica. Roy was about to start singing but the pianist was playing in a wrong key so (not unsurprisingly really!) Roy panicked and froze on the spot. The next thing Roy heard was Andy's voice shouting out “Sing man, SING!” That was all the encouragement he needed...the man sang! The crowd went wild and Roy recalls it was one of his favourite ever gigs.

Looking to the future Roy hopes that Andy's legacy lives on at the Silvershine Jazz Club and that his undying enthusiasm and encouragement for other jazz musicians, especially those just starting out, is not only remembered but picked up by others who follow in his footsteps.

You can catch Roy performing live at Nat King Cole Sings at the Birmingham Jazz Festival in July and at the Silvershine Jazz Club in the autumn.

Next we grabbed a few moments with artist Kevin McCann. Kevin’s exhibited his work locally and he's the one we’ve all got to thank for making the TC Hayes bear look so pretty and colourful!

Kevin was in a band called Sidekick in the late 80s with Andy’s daughter, Kim, and that’s how he first got to meet him. His earliest memory of Andy is watching him on the TV though at a gig recorded in Harborne (wonder where that footage is now eh?).

Kevin fondly remembered Andy as a true gentleman, who always looked very dapper. He was an inspiration to him and, like many others have testified, he found Andy full of encouragement for his fellow musicians. In particular Kevin already misses Andy's patience as he had so much time to give other musicians, especially newcomers to the jazz scene.
Carrying on her dad’s work Kim’s recently helped Kevin rediscover his love of music and now he just wants to perform as much as possible. He admires all of the Blue Notes performers and their genuine love of playing together on stage, with no egos or personalities getting in the way. He’s very envious of Vic Evan's velvety tones too. Join the queue!

Andy’s parties were legendary too and his hospitality was famous in the jazz scene...which lead to a number of memorable nights for Kevin! He remembers that Andy wouldn’t take any nonsense though and would always tell it like it is.
A quality that undoubtedly helped him develop his own unique sound, best captured for Kevin on one of Andy’s most loved tunes, Port Antonio, a track that always “brings sunshine to my face”. Now that’s an epitaph that anyone can be proud of.

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