The Scotsman Sessions #97: Georgia Cécile & Fraser Urquhart

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, jazz vocalist Georgia Cécile sings If You Could See Me Now, written by Tad Dameron for the great Sarah Vaughan, accompanied by her partner, the pianist Fraser Urquhart

For rising jazz vocalist Georgia Cécile, lockdown has meant a frustrating hiatus in making her debut album, on which she has been working with pianist-composer Euan Stevenson. With the help of Creative Scotland funding, Cécile, voted Best Vocalist at last year’s Scottish Jazz Awards, started recording at Glasgow’s GloWorm studios at the beginning of March, then everything ground to a halt until last month when she and a band which name-checks some of the finest in Scottish jazz finished the recording, now being mixed and mastered for release early next year.

Cécile (31), Glasgow-raised but based in Edinburgh with her partner, the pianist Fraser Urquhart, is desperate to get back onstage. “My whole life revolves around performing live. Without it I feel as if I’ve lost an arm and a leg, but I guess I’ll appreciate it all the more when it returns.”

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In the meantime she performs for The Scotsman Sessions accompanied by Urquhart, having chosen a standard, If You Could See Me Now, written by Tad Dameron for the great Sarah Vaughan. Its sense of languid regret at separation resonates in these testing times.

Georgia Cécile & Fraser UrquhartGeorgia Cécile & Fraser Urquhart
Georgia Cécile & Fraser Urquhart

Cécile, who can do sassy as well as soulful, is deeply influenced by classic jazz: “I’m drawn to the swing era, particularly early Frank Sinatra when he sang with Tommy Dorsey and the big, soulful voices of people like Nancy Wilson and Abbey Lincoln, with a real, emotive way of telling the stories behind the lyrics.” Her forthcoming album, however, from which a single, Always Be Right for Me, has just been released, is entirely written by herself and Stevenson.

Other musicians on the album include bassist Mario Caribe and drummer Max Popp, with Ryan Quigley, Konrad Wiszniewski and Michael Owers on horns, plus Seonaid Aitken leading a string section. Despite its up to the minute content, says Cécile, “It has a real Sixties essence about it.”

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