Chico Chica – Progress Report

One of the points of this blog is to keep the world informed on the doings of Chico Chica. In the past I prided myself on my myriad projects but looking back, I was doing too much and the were words whispered in my ear that I’d be better off narrowing my focus. I have never been much of a freelance musician, playing in myriad bands –  I just don’t have the right temperament. I have a tendency to take over and suggest to band leaders a better way of doing things. But Chico Chica is different. Outside my instrumental teaching, it has become my sole focus and this has really made a difference. And the three of us, apart from being close friends, are genuine partners in the project.

 The members, that is, Hilary Cameron, Barbara Snow and I, held a band meeting at the end of 2012 and decided to concentrate on building a fan base in London through residencies and local gigs. We now have a regular Tuesday night slot at The Green Carnation, 4 Greek Street, Soho and there may well others to follow. But we will also be hitting the road: we have The Fleece, Boxford, Suffolk on Friday 8th March and there is the Porthcawl Jazz Festival on Sunday 7th April and Sussex Jazz Club on Sunday 21st April. We are starting to form connections with agents and promoters in Europe, attending Jazz Ahead in Bremen, Womex in Cardiff and MaMa in Paris. We hope to repeat and expand our touring success in Scotland last year, possibly taking in Ireland as well.

 On top of that there is the very crucial issue of the second album. Because we already have an album out, we feel there is no hurry in producing the follow up. I wanted to rush ahead and book the studio but Hilary and Barbara preferred a more measured approach. We have around thirty original songs and we are still writing so there will be a lot of difficult decisions to make. To help this process, we will record demo versions of all of them. This process may well influence the style. At the moment, it is in the tradition of the Jazz, Latin and classic Pop songs we love so much. But in the last year, I’ve noticed how powerfully the spoken word connects with audiences (see review here: http://artofjazz.blogspot.co.uk). Barbara has also expressed the wish for a larger band and make Chico Chica more intrinsically Latin which audiences would want to dance to. These ideas may well converge in the year ahead.

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