Camilla George - A Question of Taste

Camilla George - A Question of Taste
Camilla George spoke to Des O'Driscoll at the Irish Examiner ahead of her nationwide Irish tour

Nigerian born saxophonist Camilla George is one of the leading lights of the resurgent UK jazz scene. Afrofuturism, hip hop and fusion of African and western sounds can all be heard in her music. She's currently in the midst of a 10-date tour of Ireland with her three-piece band, including an appearance at Triskel in Cork on Saturday, June 18. For all dates of the tour see www.musicnetwork.ie.

Best recent book you've read and what you liked about it

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett about the parallel lives of estranged light skinned twin sisters who choose to live life in two vastly different worlds – one black and one white. I thought this was a fascinating book which touched on so many issues that have affected black people as a result of slavery.

Best recent film

Men – I saw this at my lovely local cinema in Acton – Act One Cinema. It details the story of a woman who after a personal tragedy retreats alone to a beautiful English countryside in order to heal. There are dark undertones from the beginning with her appearing to have a stalker but it turned out to be a full on horror film which terrified me but it was beautifully shot and acted- really loved it!

Best recent gig you’ve seen

Due to touring I haven't been able to check out much music which is a real shame but the last gig that I saw that I loved was Kenny Garrett when he came to London with his quintet. Kenny is a huge inspiration to me as a musician and composer and his band are ridiculous. It was also my last opportunity to hear the legendary pianist, Vernell brown Jnr before his untimely death just a couple of weeks ago. He was a very special musician who will be hugely missed.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old)

I have been listening to a lot of Roy Hargrove recently especially his album, Earfood.

First ever piece of music that really moved you

I think it was On the Sonny Side of the Street with Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins – my Dad played it to me and I loved the joy in the music.

The best gig or show you've ever seen (if you had to pick one!)

It would have to be Kenny Garrett about 8 years ago at Pizza Express – his playing was so transcendent and spiritual – I remember thinking this is what it must have been like to have listened to Coltrane live.

Tell us about your TV viewing

I love watching TV unlike a lot of musicians! I love cooking shows like Masterchef and Great British Menu as well as anything historical.

Other than people you know or work with, any particular social media accounts you'd recommend? (Twitter, Insta, etc)

Susan Wokoma (@susiewoosie12 on Instagram) – she's a great actress and fellow Nigerian. I literally love every project she has been involved in or written. Joel Ross (@imjoelmross) - just one of the most killing musicians out there! I love his content and, similarly, saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins who is a virtuoso (@immanuel.wilkins).

You're curating your dream festival – which three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

Kenny Garrett
Sonny Stitt
Coltrane

Your best/most famous celebrity encounter

I think it would be when I met Kenny Garrett for the first time and was so excited to meet him having just got into his music that I told him I loved him instead of saying I loved his music! I was mortified!

You can portal back to any cultural event or music era – where, when, and why?

Well I think I would like to go back in time and hear Parker live – it must have been incredible to witness.

Camilla will be joined by her all-star band featuring Renato Paris (keys and vocals), Jihad Darwish (electric and double bass) and Rod Youngs (drums). The 10-date tour runs from 15 - 26 June with performances at Sligo Jazz Fest, Newbridge, Thomastown, Cork, Carrick-On-Shannon, Listowel, Dublin, Letterkenny, Belfast and Wexford. Tickets range from €12 to €25, to book visit www.musicnetwork.ie.

Article by Des O'Driscoll, Irish Examiner, 16/06/2022