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Julie Edwards

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Biography of Julie Edwards

‘Singer and saxophonist have an enviable empathic relationship. Edwards, fluid and commanding, has clearly joined the front runners in the world of the female jazz singer,and a very welcome addition she is too.’ Bruce Crowther, Jazz Journal

‘Great sophistication and taste. Their smooth and thoughtful partnership has made for extremely enjoyable listening.’ Musician Magazine

‘Here's a voice that caught my attention on an album I received a couple of years ago and successfully holds it on a new one just out. I think this is beautiful.’ Humphrey Lyttelton, BBC Radio 2

‘A true jazz singer who sparkles like a real gem.’ Lee Gibson

‘Good singer, isn’t she?’ Michael Parkinson, BBC Radio 2

‘Julie is up there with the best in the country – a very musical singer with an excellent saxophonist” Hulljazz

Vocalist Julie Edwards and saxophonist Kevin Dearden got together seven years ago and it soon became apparent that this was an ideal match, both musically and personally. They have produced three CD’s; ‘Eden’ and ‘Connections’ have been featured on Michael Parkinson’s and Humphrey Lyttelton’s shows on BBC Radio 2 and local radio stations in the UK and elsewhere. Their third CD, ‘Rhyme or Reason’ has been released this spring to coincide with their biggest tour to date.

With a degree in psychology, Julie has, amongst other things, worked as a sign painter, a youth club assistant, an insurance seller, a secretary, a photography teacher and in adult education, before deciding to concentrate on singing. She studied at Leeds College of Music between 1994 and 1997 on a Postgraduate Diploma, where jazz became her primary interest and where she was taught by Angela Elliot, Pete Churchill and Nikki Iles and where she sang with the college’s Duke Ellington Repertory Orchestra. In 2000 she recorded her first album, ‘About Time Too’; shortly afterwards she teamed up with Kevin.

Kevin took up saxophone at 20, studying with jazz educator Richard Ingham. Three years later he entered the Royal Northern College of Music. In the RNCN Big Band he worked with Bobby Shew, Lou Tabackin, Stan Sulzman and Victor Mendoza. He backed Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey, Barry White and Paul Anka at the Sporting Club of Monte Carlo. He directed Bradford University Big Band and the RNCM Jazz Ensemble. He has designed Edexcel jazz courses and taught HNC jazz. Now a saxophone teacher, he also coaches student big bands. He plays alto, baritone and soprano saxes and has recently added jazz guitar to his repertoire.

Together they have played to enthusiastic and ever increasing audiences in the North, the Midlands and more recently the South of England. This spring they play for the first time over the border in Scotland. They have appeared at many festivals including Cleethorpes, Wigan, Birmingham, Cork, Keswick and Scarborough Jazz Festivals as well as dozens of jazz venues including the award winning Wakefield Jazz, The Boxford Fleece in Suffolk, New Jazz Five in Lincoln, Ipswich Jazz, Jazz in Oxon and the Welsh Jazz Society.

Their first Jazz Services supported national tour took place in Spring 2004 and included dates from Hartlepool to Central London. Since then three further tours have led to a growing following across the country. In 2005 they played several dates in Southern Spain, and this summer will be playing for 'Amigos Del Jazz' in the Costa Del Sol. Last year they appeared as part of the 'Jazz Divas' season at the Shire Hall in Howden which also featured singers Liane Carroll and Marlene VerPlanck; this is followed in 2007 by the Howden Hear & Now Festival, at which Julie and Kevin also appear with their trio.

Their rhythm section features excellent seasoned players from the North and the Midlands including pianists Al Gurr and Edward Barnwell and double bass players Steve Berry and Bill Coleman, and they have also appeared with Dave Newton, Steve Brown, Simon Thorpe and John Dee.

‘Fast becoming one of the top attractions on the jazz club circuit.’ Jazz UK

‘Outstanding vocalist teamed with a great saxophonist.’ Scarborough Jazz

‘A saxophonist whose considerable talents are a magnetic match for Julie on vocals.... one of the best jazz pairings in many years.’ Grimsby Telegraph

‘A cracking singer.’ Brian Blane, Jazz UK

‘Her performance was spellbinding throughout - such quality. I can only say that every member of the audience felt that they had been in the presence of 'star material'.’ Howdenshire Live Arts

"A talented and very skilful jazz vocalist...she delights her audience...a singer who swings, sounds good and has personality.’ Mike Pinfold, jazz writer

‘A rising star on the British Jazz scene fast gaining an enviable reputation, Julie is a fine jazz vocalist with a wide repertoire.’ Huddersfield Jazz

"One of Yorkshire's busiest singers...a crowded diary attests to the popularity of an appealing performer with a fastidious choice in material. She enjoys a seamless rapport with a group led by saxophonist Kevin Dearden.’ Yorkshire Post

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