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VocalSuite

Jazz Opera

Trio

"The purely a capella opening number of Cleveland Watkiss’s set provided the most beautiful way imaginable of cleansing the palate. Using loops to lay down a beguiling polyphonic web of interlocking vocal lines, Watkiss seemed to take us back to the very fons et origo of music: unadorned melody. It was a magical vignette."

Peter Quinn

"Wasn't he awesome? What it takes us six to do he does all by himself."… Take 6

"Fingers dancing over the keys of an imaginary saxophone or pumping the valves of an invisible trumpet, Cleveland Watkiss’ instrument is his voice. Vocal improvisation is the game.”… Arena

"Watkiss can create any of these sounds in live performance... he can be a one man band.”

Time Out

"Cleveland Watkiss earlier on spun some ecstatic variations on a Chopin prelude that had us all spellbound.”… Telegraph

"One line good - but six lines just incredible.”… The Independent

"An original work from a unique British talent.”…

Blues & Soul

"He is a genuine virtuoso.”… The Independent

SHADOWBALL

"This is a community and educational project more than a stand-alone musical drama, although Joseph's elegant mutations of 1930s Count Basie and Cab Calloway themes, as well as astute deployments of gospel music and blues, give the score fizz. Watkiss's sonorous tones and dynamic subtlety hit the right balance of magisterial and sympathetic, too, in his role as player/coach Satchel Paige."

The Guardian


BRIDGETOWER

"The stage artistry of Cleveland Watkiss, the adult Bridgetower whose every phrase oozes instinctive musicianship.” The Stage

"Cleveland Watkiss was simply made for the lead of Bridgetower... it could be a career high to date”…. Jazzwise

"Cleveland Watkiss’s jazz vocals as the adult Bridgetower are irresistible: every word tells.”… The Times

"For me the best vocal talent came from Hackney based Cleveland Watkiss.”… jazzreloaded

"A possibly unique unit of voice, bass, and drums, the group nevertheless manages to convey the entire jazz aesthetic by musical implication, while at the same time having all the internal spaciousness you’d expect.” JazzUK

"Watkiss’ larger than life stage presence and highly original scatting brought the band into the desired higher gear, bringing out great solos.” Jazzwise

"Singing with just bass (Mark Hodgson) and drums (Shaney Forbes) for company is a somewhat risky business, requiring sharp ears and quick musical reflexes, but Cleveland Watkiss has always been blessed with these advantages, so is able to seize and hold an audience’s attention solely with the power and versatility of his voice." Chris Parker

"The trio live is such a great experience - that’s about the bravest line-up any singer can put them self in, and you played it like you lived there :o) That, my dear man, is class.”  Steve Lawson

 

"What he does do is write and perform sensitive, often heart-warmingly beautiful songs and sing them in a voice that recalls Ray Charles and Bobby McFerrin. He is a master of late-night mood music, and a versatile composer, equally at home with Latin, Jamaican, Cuban and classic R&B styles.” James Griffiths, The Guardian