Georgia Mancio & Alan Broadbent Duo at London Jazz Festival

Georgia’s new partnership with double Grammy-winning pianist and composer, Alan Broadbent

About 16 years I was working as a waitress at Ronnie Scott’s.  I was also a film-making student whose head was turned by the unbelievable jazz world that opened my ears, eyes and heart to the notion that perhaps I was making the wrong career choice.

The bassist, Simon Woolf, asked me if I knew the work of American vocalist, Irene Kral. As soon as I heard Gentle Rain and Where is Lovethe exquisite and moving ballad albums she made in duo with New Zealand pianist, Alan Broadbent – I knew this was music that would stay with me forever. The deeply personal, melancholy beauty of her voice and the telepathic support of his sophisticated, complex and yet understated playing were like finding a message in a bottle.

Irene Kral tragically died far too young in 1978 sealing her cult status and leaving a tantalisingly small but iconic legacy of recordings.  Alan Broadbent is now a two-time Grammy-winner renowned not just as “one of the greatest living jazz pianists” (Los Angeles Times) but also as an arranger/composer/conductor whose credits include Woody Herman, Charlie Haden, Nelson Riddle, Johnny Mandel, Diana Krall, Shirley Horn, Paul McCartney and Natalie Cole.

To this impressive list I am beyond proud to add my name as last week I played a duo gig with that same astonishing musician.  We had met briefly twice before and emailed but at 3pm on the day of the gig suddenly we were at the piano selecting and playing through songs including his own deceptively simple ballad Heart’s Desire that I was relieved to get note perfect (and in the necessary right order!)

2013 has been an extraordinary year for me musically: supporting two heroes Milton Nascimento and Jon Hendricks at Ronnie Scott’s; duo performances with piano/vocal genius, Ian Shaw; a 24 date national tour with 3 different projects; a new live recording, Come Rain or Come Shine, with award-winning guitarist Nigel Price; the 4th and longest edition of my ReVoice! Festival at the Pizza Express Jazz Club and an opening set at the Purcell Room for the incredible singer/songwriter, Christine Tobin.

This Sunday (24th) I’m thrilled to be playing at the last night of this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival once again in duo with Alan Broadbent. Someone else will be behind the camera; someone else will be serving the drinks.  I won’t be Irene Kral, I’ll be myself with all that I have learnt and yet hope to learn but I will be thinking of her and singing my thanks.