Cleveland Watkiss Pt.1

“Well, as a person I’m an activist in that I am very much concerned about what’s going on globally around the world…But as an artist I’m a vocal explorer; I love the sound of the voice in all its dimensions.” Cleveland Watkiss

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Cleveland Watkiss has been a mainstay on the World music scene, most notably within the jazz genre for over thirty years. The East London born virtuoso vocalist, composer, actor and improviser initially studied voice at the ‘London school of Singing’ under the tutelage of opera coach ‘Arnold Rose’ and then graduating to the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama.

Since co-founding the hugely influential Jazz Warriors big band, whose debut album ‘Out of Many People’ garnered a video award in Japan, Cleveland’s career has gone from strength to strength having been entered for the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards, subsequently being voted Best vocalist for three consecutive years. Recognition of his illustrious career when he was chosen to be the opening act for two world’s most influential female jazz vocalists, Abbey Lincoln and Cassandra Wilson. At the time Guardian described John Fordham described Cleveland as “Arriving on the scene with a bang.”

Few of his contemporaries have such an impressive CV. Cleveland Watkiss has performed alongside a diverse array of international artists from across the whole musical spectrum – George Martin, Julian Joseph, Stevie Wonder, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Art Blakey, Keith Richards, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, BBC Orchestra, Sugar Minot, Orphy Robinson, Tony Kofi, The London Community Gospel Choir, Sly and Robbie, Courtney Pine, Janet Kay, Abdullah Ibrahim, Robbie Williams, Nigel Kennedy, Goldie, Abbey and Joe Cocker, Abbey Lincoln, The Who, James Taylor Quartet, Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Maxi Priest and Tony Rémy amongst many others.

cleveland-watkissHis two albums “Green Chimneys” (Urban Jazz 1989) and “Blessing In Disguise” (Polydor the 1991) have become classic recordings as well as continual reference points for many artists. A third release Victory’s Happy Song followed in 2002. His association with Julian Joseph and Mike Phillips led to him being cast as the main protagonists in the groundbreaking jazz opera’s Bridgetower and Shadowball.
Cleveland Watkiss has been a part of many projects including the visionary Project 23 (Watkiss, Marque Gilmore, DJ LeRouche), YMV (Watkiss, Orphy Robinson, Derek Richards) and his most recent quartet CWQ which sees Watkiss accompanied by Shaney Forbes (drums), Mark Hodgson (bass) and Marco Piccioni (guitars). He currently spearheads the monthly Freedom Jazz Sessions at Vortex Jazz Club alongside cohorts Orphy Robinson and Tori Handsley.
2016 has seen the showcase of his new album ‘Songs of the Diaspora’ featuring Jonathan Gee on piano and Larry Bartley on double bass.
Michael J Edwards managed to tether down this perpetual dynamo and intriguing vocal purveyor long enough to talk about his amazingly colourful career and get a deeper insight into the man, his motives, his influences and his thoughts on the future of jazz and music in general going forward.

Michael J Edwards: Greetings Mr Cleveland Watkiss, it’s a pleasure to sit down with you at long last. Before we get into the meat and potatoes, the Yam and Dashin, the rice and peas, the ackee and saltfish of the interview; I know the past week has been quite eventful for you with your involvement in tribute gigs to two impactful musical luminaries, Stevie Wonder and John Coltrane. I was fortunate enough to capture your recent heartfelt and emotive tribute to Mr Stevie Wonder at Jazz In The Crypt. How were those two events for you?

Cleveland Watkiss: We’re talking about John Coltrane and Stevie wonder, two icons of our music. I always think about something Wayne shorter said many years ago, “Artists should try to keep one foot in the past and one foot in the present. I often think about that because I think it’s really important to be present with what you’re doing and how you project yourself in the world as an artist or as a human being, as a person with your own thoughts and ideas about what it means to be human and alive in this time. But at the same time we have to look back because it informs our present; because it’s all continuum, for me it’s all one loop. I think it was Jon Henley Clark who said, “History is a continuum; it’s ever-present.” We have science and biology and astrology that teach us about time, but when we go deep down, it’s actually one continuous event. History is a present event. It’s important that we learn to assimilate the greatness of our ancestors in order to bring things into the now and in order to take the stuff into the future. So I’ll always give honour and respect to our great icons of our music, Stevie wonder and John Coltrane being two of them.

With regard to the actual gigs, I’ve always been a fan of Stevie wonder, I have all his music and tried to absorb as much of it as I could throughout the years. Also I had the opportunity to work with him at one point in my career in the eighties with a Gospel ensemble. I got talking with Jonathan Gee who I’ve had a long association with – Jonathan Gee is a great pianist and composer and long-time collaborator and colleague on the jazz scene from the eighties – and we got talking about Stevie (Wonder) and our love for his music. I think it’s true for a lot of people, we’re just totally bowled over and transfixed by that seventies period. I think there’s seven albums that he did in the seventies, right up to the ‘Secret Life of Plants’, which was released in 1979.

The first album he released when he was around twenty-one was ‘Where I’m Coming from ‘ – Aptly titled as well – right the way up to the ‘Secret Life of Plants’, ‘Talking Book’ and all those albums in between such as ‘Inner Visions’, ‘Fulfillingness First Finale’, ‘Songs In the Key of Life’. Just really deep and inspiring sounds…Just unprecedented stuff! When he was working with those two programmers recording the synth stuff and producing it. So there came a point where it was just really time to deal with that music just as improvisers. We just thought, “Let’s look at how we can re interpret it.” I ain’t gonna it was a struggle initially, because, How do you do Stevie Wonder without doing Stevie Wonder?” We found a way man; we found a way!

First of all you got to abandon the fear when you’re dealing with such music. It’s like anyone that’s bold enough to take on Love Supreme and perform that. That’s almost like really sacred stuff, just leave that alone sort of thing… It’s like, “How dare you?” almost. But those that do; I know Branford (Marsalis) has a take on Love Supreme and it’s fantastic. He’s made it his own and it’s a noble and bold thing to step into that sort of space and say you’re going to tackle Love Supreme or Stevie stuff. So once the fear and intimidation got out of the way, you’re able to really find your place in it and almost reinterpreted them out. “How do I feel about that music now?” Because when I heard it thirty years ago I was a kid. Of course it was inspiring and all those beautiful and emotional things, but now that I’m a mature adult, it means a whole different thing… It’s still current, it’s still relevant. All the stuff that he (Stevie Wonder) was talking about thirty years ago, here we are in 2016 dealing with the same stuff, the same timeline.

So again history is a current event. I guess it will only change when we as people change, when we change our society. If we want things to change then the society has to change. I’m saying that because I’m a strong believer that music is part of that process, that healing process, music is powerful in that way. That’s really for me what music is, it’s a gift and I’m able to share that gift with the world. So when we decide to perform Stevie wonder’s music, it’s almost like we’re rewriting it; we’re deconstructing it for now, for the present. And that’s really it.

Michael J Edwards: First off and just for the record how would you Cleveland Watkiss describe yourself as is the person/artist?

Cleveland Watkiss: Well, as a person I’m an activist in that I am very much concerned about what’s going on globally around the world and especially amongst our people and I’m very vocal about that. Now that we have the advent of social media I’m able to really share a lot of things that trouble me. But as an artist I’m a vocal explorer; I love the sound of the voice in all its dimensions. I’m just talking about sound, I’m not talking about singing. I’m just talking about sound, I’m not talking about singing per se, I’m talking about your speaking voice. I’m talking about when I listen to people communicate with each other; for me it’s all music.

I hear music; when I hear you speak, when I hear your tones Michael, I hear music, I hear rhythm, I hear your texture, I hear your sounds. And I love languages…That’s the beautiful thing about travelling is that you meet different people and you hear different sounds and hear different languages and they all infuse. For me it’s a universe within itself, the sound of the human voice, it really is, it’s a universe within itself. So yeah, I’m a vocal explorer, a vocal scientist – I don’t know what the word is, but I just like the sound of the human voice in all its glory and all its dimensions.

Michael J Edwards: Where did it all begin for you musically with regards to growing up in Hackney?

Cleveland Watkiss: It all began for me sitting in my cot with the radio, with the gram (gramophone), the blue spot on in the background. (smiles) I remember as a little kid, maybe a baby with the Radio show on and being in the cot; I can still remember those sounds. Remember sound is vibration and vibration is what creates everything, everything is vibrating. So those sounds that were vibrating when I was a little kid they become part of my structure, my fabric.

So what was on the radio? Probably the Beatles; stuff that my parents were playing coming from a Caribbean family… My dad was an amateur DJ, so I’d hear a lot of different things in-house from Ray Charles to the latest Ska/ Blue Beat tunes that were happening in the early sixties. So unconsciously I was absorbing all this stuff. So as a young child, as a young boy, for me my understanding was that’s what everyone does – everyone sings, everyone does music. My parents didn’t go to university or college or anything like that, so we learnt and got all our understanding from our environment, from your folk.

My mum loved to dance, my dad loved to dance. Weekend came and there’s always parties round the house, Dominoes, Cards and all that. And I saw that as a kid and I heard all this music; so for me everyone’s world was like that, I didn’t know any better until much later. Then I realised, “Oh! Everyone don’t sing? You’ve never heard ska?” Then you start to understand that you’ve got different cultures and different environments and that one moves over there and so on… And the school I went to as well was really interesting because in our infant and primary school at assembly time we would sit and listen to classical music in silence. So that was part of the assembly. We would sit and they would put on Bach, Beethoven or whatever and we would sit in silence and listen to it. Remember I’m absorbing all this, I’m not being prejudice, I’ve got no judgement on it, all I’m doing is listening to it and absorbing it. Nobody’s told me anything about it, I don’t know anything; it’s just boom! You’re just listening.

Later on in life you hear these things again on the radio or whatever and you go, “Hold on a minute! I used to hear that at school!” And then you find out that it was Beethoven’s 5th or Bach Inventions or whatever. All that stuff went in; all that stuff becomes a part of you. Growing up in Hackney, living in Hackney all your life, I was around the Asian community, the African community, the Jewish community, the Muslim community. All these energies and all these spices if you like, they all kind of seasoned you up to make you into whether you are. You are very much groomed by your environment… And I never moved from Hackney, I moved to different spots of Hackney, but it was always in Hackney.

The last spot where I was, was where they called Murder Mile at the time – in the sort of late 90s and early 2000; which is Upper Clapton – because so many people were getting shot. You’d hear a gunshot, you’d hear helicopters, it was like normal. You got so normalised to that environment… It’s all changed now around there, it’s five pounds for coffee and twenty pounds for a lump of cheese… So my environment informed my music and my outlook as well, just the way I would grow up and start to appreciate different types of music and introduce into what I do.

I guess the first music that I really latched onto was the Sound System and Dub in the seventies, because when I was at school everyone had a sound system. Everyone was following a ‘Sound’, I was following Fat Man Sound System… My first live singing performance was when Fat Man used to run talent competitions and I entered one and I won it. And that was the spark! I think I was fourteen or fifteen. So that was the initial spark that really got me on the road to thinking about a career in music, was when I won that talent competition, it just gave me confidence… So that was the real spark. So for me Sound System culture was extremely important to me growing up and still is. It still informs what I do and my music. Yeah, so that’s the start.

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Michael J Edwards: Was the voice as an instrument always a major attraction to you as opposed to playing a traditional instrument?

Cleveland Watkiss: Yes, I mean I was interested in the trumpet and the piano and I did study the piano for a few years, but I was really studying the piano to understand the function of music; I was really studying the piano to understand harmony from a Western point of view and just understand melody and chords. And just to understand theoretically how those things work and their names. So I just wanted to study the piano to understand that kind of language, I wasn’t necessarily studying the piano to become a pianist per se. My brother is a professional pianist and went on to forge his own career as a pianist.

But the voice is always the driving force for me. Why? Because I guess it’s just the most immediate instrument… The sound of the human voice. Again as speaking I hear rhythm, I hear harmony, I hear melody. The melody and harmony are in the rhythm, it already exists. If I stamp my feet there’s harmony, there’s rhythm, there’s sound, there’s vibration, there’s frequencies – it’s there. So the voice man that’s where the real energy and power is. Ultimately everyone who plays an instrument what are they doing? They’re singing, they’ve found an instrument of choice to exercise their voice.

Michael J Edwards: Please take us through chronologically your introduction to vocal techniques via the London School of Singing and subsequently the Guildhall School of Music.

Cleveland Watkiss: In my pursuit of study the piano and learning about harmony, I wanted to understand how the voice works technically. What’s this stuff about breathing and the diaphragm and support and opening your throat? All these things that I’d been reading and hearing about. I saw some advert in the paper for the London School of Singing. So I called them up and said I’d like to come for some singing lessons. Anyway I went to this place over in Barons Court and Arnold Rose was a an Opera coach who’s sadly gone home to glory now. I’ bring my Stevie wonder songs to sing and he was great, he’d listen and then give me advice.

But he had a book called ‘The Voice’ and it was very very technical. And it was perfect because it is what I needed! I wanted to understand how the voice works from a technical point of view. That’s just me, I’m just curious like that when it comes to my instrument, I want to know the ins and out of it I want to know what makes it tick and work and vibrate. So anyway this book ‘ The Voice’, man I had this book in my bag for years! I would read it and read it and read it and didn’t understand it. We didn’t have Google then; I’d be trying to understand these big words in the book. I had it for years and years and I take it everywhere with me. I had a 9-to-5 at one point, because I didn’t really become professional until I was about twenty-one/twenty-two.

But during my teens, I had a young family from the age of eighteen, so I had a job and I carried this book everywhere; reading this book, studying this book. It took me about when I started at The London School of Singing probably when I was about eighteen/nineteen – when I went for my first lessons – and I didn’t grasp that book until I was pushing thirty! That’s when I really started to understand what I was reading. It just took that long to really get in my head what I was reading from a technical point of view.

Because when you’re singing opera you’re producing the voice in a whole different way. Because you’re not using a microphone and you need to fill a theatre that holds two thousand people with your voice… That requires a whole other technique and understanding of the voice. So I understood the voice from that perspective. Which is why I was able to do Julian Joseph’s ‘Bridgetower’ and his two opera’s because I understood how to produce that sound; even though I hadn’t been doing it because I hadn’t necessarily been singing that type of music, I understood how to produce that sound because I studied it. Then an opportunity came for me to use it. So it took me a little while to get everything up to speed again in terms of: yeah you can have the understanding and technique in your head, but then are you physically able to produce the sound.

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Michael J Edwards: After the London School of Singing and subsequently moved on to the Guildhall School of music. How was that experience?

Cleveland Watkiss: The thing about studying is that I learnt most of my stuff by just doing it, by being in bands and the studio. My term at Guildhall was just me being a rebel really because they told me that I couldn’t get in there. And my stubborn self said, “Watch me!” Because I’m like that, if somebody tells me that I can’t do something I’ll be like, “Watch me I’ll do it!” I don’t know if it’s a Watkiss thing or what, but I’m just that way…. There was a time in the eighties with the guys that I grew up with in the Sound System and the local band that we had; people like Alan Weeks, Kendrick Rowe, a bass player named Ruben Piper Farai, Bammy Rose who plays with Jools Holland’s band. I came up amongst that environment and there was a couple of them talking about this Guildhall School of Music and there was a teacher Lionel Grigson…He was the head of this academy at the Guildhall. It was a jazz place and they were recruiting and looking for kids to join. At that time you could get grants and stuff like that. Anyway I went for the audition and I remember Lionel Grigson saying to me after I did the audition, “We need people like you here!” That was my introduction to the Guildhall. He said that to me, “We need people like you in here!” I was like, “Okay.” So anyway, I’m in the Guildhall – Alan Weeks is in the Guildhall, Michael Martin’s is in the Guildhall, Winston Clifford’s in the Guildhall, Jason Rebello’s in the Guildhall, Paul Hunt… The whole Army of young musicians starting to come to the Guildhall. Lionel Grigson just created a space and said, “Brothers, come on! We need you in here!”

So Monday morning you’d go to the Guildhall and you’d stand in the foyer – blacker than black! I don’t think the Guildhall has ever been so ‘blacked’ out before or since. We’re talking mid-eighties. You walked into the Guildhall and you see all the man dem, that had been playing in the clubs at the weekend… Everyone came to the Guildhall, because we were all there, it was like a meeting place. Steve Williamson was there; so Steve Williamson’s band would have been rehearsing at night/in the evenings, in one of the rooms. Steve Williamson had in his band people like Tony Rémy, Gary Crosby and all these other musicians would come and rehearse with Steve.

So everybody was there; they were either rehearsing, studying or hanging out there but the whole place got blacked out… It became a meeting point. I absolutely fine teachers there as well – Scott Stroman, I love Scott. And there were a few funky teachers there that didn’t necessarily want us there. We heard the line of, “You guys can’t really play the piano in the main hall, because you guys harden the centre of the piano.” You know what that means. So yeah, we had to deal with they’re little-ism/schism stuff that they tried to through on us as black musicians. It was an unprecedented time because you had a resurgence of the scene in the mid-80s over here. A lot of musicians from my generation were coming up and were really interested in taking this music really seriously, but really from a cultural point of view as well. What I mean is really understanding where the music’s coming from.

So we were interested in the music that was coming from our cousins in America as much as we were interested in how it got there via Africa, the Caribbean and then America. That little loop there usually gets missed out, the Caribbean bit when you start talking about jazz. When we were taken from Africa our first stop was not New Orleans, it was the Caribbean. And that period there, whatever was going on there went to New Orleans. So it’s no mistake that Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington’s band were full of Caribbean musicians. So that conversation is usually missed out when they start talking about history of jazz. The Caribbean played a hugely important role in music and popular music today. The Caribbean is central to all of that stuff and all the music that happened in the 20th century. That injection, that fusion of sound is crucial to the development of jazz as we know it.

Michael J Edwards: I personally became aware of you many years ago via your 1989 debut album release Green Chimneys on Urban Jazz records label and subsequently two years later Blessing In Disguise Polydor records. Please explain how you got the initial record deal for Green Chimneys and the amazing personal you garnered for that recording?

Cleveland Watkiss: Green Chimneys came about while I was still at Guildhall in 1987. I was doing some work with Lisa Stansfield; I don’t know if you remember the tune, ‘People Hold On’. All of the harmony you hear on there is all me doing layering until kingdom come. Doing all the different high’s, Low’s, Mid’s, Bass – I did all the voice on that tune. Not a lot of people know that, but that’s me on there… One thing led to another and I ended up doing a deal with a subsidiary of Polydor called Urban Jazz. I was still at Guildhall at the time and I was doing loads of different session stuff. I was doing stuff with Pete Townsend for concept album which he put called ‘Ironman’. It had a host of amazing artists on there from Nina Simone to John Lee Hooker.

Anyway I had this deal with Polydor whilst I was still at Guildhall and one of the things that was in my head is that I wanted to capture this energy at the time. You know, Steve (Williamson), Courtney (Pine), Jason (Rebello), Bheki Mseleku, Brian Abraham, Simon Purcell…There was all these musicians that I was working with and interacting with on the scene and I wanted to capture it somehow. That’s why I made that record Green Chimneys, because at the time I discovered (Thelonius) Monk, hence the title track Green Chimneys. For me Monk as the epitome of/the benchmark for jazz, improvisation, composition, individuality, blackness, spirituality – for me when I discovered Monk it was like everything I wanted to hear. Then there was a deep connection with it and I didn’t understand at the time. But then I did – It’s’s the rhythm; the reggae. (Cleveland breaks into a scat).

Black people understand that, those kind of rhythms. There was a deep connection with the rhythmic aspects of Monk that drew the likes of myself and Orphy (Robinson) into that sound world. So what I was trying to do with Green Chimneys was trying to capture the mood and spirit of that time. I was very conscious of that, so I had all these guest on there – Courtney (Pine) was on there, Jason (Rebello), Simon Purcell, Brian Abrahams, Bheki Mseleku, Paul hunt who helped produce it – an extraordinary bass player who is now Pastor in the states. Just a host of musicians. I think Julian (Joseph) was supposed to play on there but he was at Berkley School of Music at the time, so he couldn’t play on it. We did end up using one of his compositions, ‘Incandescent Dreams’ that finishes the album… It’s a duet with myself and Jason. So Green Chimneys was really about capturing that moment – the eighties.

Michael J Edwards: Any particular favourite tracks on the album?

Cleveland Watkiss: They all are man! They all mean so many different things.

Michael J Edwards: You paid homage to Billie Holiday on ‘To A songstress’, Wayne Shorter on ‘Seeds of Sin’ and of course Thelonius Monk on the title track.

Cleveland Watkiss: Yes correct; then there are some originals on there – ‘New Born’ was a tribute to my niece who was born around that time… Jean Toussaint is on there. It was just about capturing the vibrations at the time. Anyway I ended up recording the album at Pete Townsend’s studio…over in Twickenham, which no longer exists. Through my connection with him and the work I was doing there I was able to use the studio and record the album there. But what happened a few years ago was that I got a call from Pete Townshend’s studio saying that, “We have your master tapes, where can we send them.” I was like, “What!” They sent me the master tapes to Green Chimneys which I have; reels and reels and reels of tape. And I just like, “Wow! I need to deal with that at some point and re-jig it and put it out.” So I have the master tapes although sessions.

Michael J Edwards: Moving on to the album ‘Blessing In Disguise’ and the, the aforementioned Tony Rémy said that was one of his most enjoyable recording experiences to date?

Cleveland Watkiss: ‘Blessing In Disguise’ which followed Green Chimneys – I take my family to Jamaica; this is my first ever visit to the land of my parents. It’s quite life changing that experience of seeing my grandmother for the first time sitting in her garden and having conversations with your grandmother about her life on life in Jamaica/the Caribbean. You take anything in and absorb stuff. When I got back from Jamaica I wanted to tell the story. But I wanted to do in a way that was just true and honest to the way I was feeling about it and where I was musically at the time.

So ‘Blessing In Disguise’ – each piece on that album really just tells you about my experiences about being in the Caribbean. There’s a tune on there called ‘Bag O’ Orange’, ‘Conscious Mind’, ‘Know Your Worth’, ‘The River’….

Michael J Edwards: You came back strong with that sophomore album?

Cleveland Watkiss: Again it was really me just trying to be true and honest about how I was feeling about myself and music at that particular time. Branford Marsalis is on there too; I went to New York and recorded him on the title piece, ‘Blessing In Disguise’. In that particular record I really invested a lot of thought and emotional kind of deposits in a record. It was kind of like me telling all my story to that point in that record, so it was quite draining emotionally to make that record. I did have a fantastic producer Adam Mosley who now resides in LA. After I did that record and it didn’t live up to the commercial expectations of being on a major label, the wheels started to fall off. Reality kicks in and by the time I finished the I’d had about ten to fifteen different A&R people A&R the record. They were changing daily like staff at the McDonald’s. So by the time the record is finished the guy who was a and A&Ring project was like, “What’s this?! I didn’t sign this! What is this! Where’s the hits?” I’m on a label with Jason Donovan for Christ sake! The wheels fell off; but for me it was like a huge emotional rollercoaster. “What do you mean you don’t understand? This is my masterpiece! What single? This is the album I’m giving you!” I didn’t understand all that stuff.

After I did that record I withdrew; after I got dropped from the label. I just kind of withdrew from that World and I just thought,“Man! I can invest all this time and energy into something and someone’s gonna turnaround and tell me we can’t do this and that. Get the hell out of here man!” And I vowed that I don’t want to be in that situation ever again in my life’ where somebody’s got ownership of my stuff – what! No man! Black people need to own their stuff. That’s the problem with a lot of black people in the world man is that we don’t own anything; we sell everything! Motown sold their stuff, all the labels in Jamaica sold all their shit. You go to Japan man and you’ve got to pay £50 for a studio One record… We sell all our stuff to the highest bidder every time… That’s a huge thing, we sell off all our goods man.

Michael J Edwards: On the creative side ‘Conscious Mind’, how did that tune come about?

Cleveland Watkiss: I think it was the B-line man, I remember being in my flat in Hackney and I heard, “Zoog-zoog-zoog! Zoog-zoog-zoog! G-zoog-zoog-zoog! Zoog-zoog-zoog!Zoog-zoog-zoog!” And it becomes a chant. That was the seed of that piece,it was the baseline; and from there everything blossomed from that seed idea. And I think that’s how most of us write, it’s from the baseline.

Michael J Edwards: Did the writing of it happen quickly after that?

Cleveland Watkiss: Yeah, everything just fell into place after I had the baseline, it writes itself. I think for me once you get a solid seed of an idea for a song everything else just fits around it. It’s like painting; you put a little splash with paint on canvas and you step away and you either go yay or nay. (Laughs gently)

Michael J Edwards

http://www.clevelandwatkiss.net/

Discography
Green Chimneys (Urban Jazz, 1989; Verve, 1991)
Blessing in Disguise (Polydor, 1991)
Victory’s Happy Song (Touchdown Soundz, 2001; INFRACom!, 2002)
Songs of the Diaspora [feat. Steve Williamson] (Right Now Music, 2016)

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