‘I love to improvise and I love to write songs. So, I write music that has room for lots of improvisation and lyrics that are rooted in the singer-songwriter tradition. I want to be able to reach audiences who enjoy the ‘on the spot’ creativity of an improvising group with those that also look for the communication and resonance of a songwriters expression.’
Spellbound – Sara Colman Band
One Good Reason – The Passion
Ready – Sara Colman Quartet
Writing music has always been central to Sara Colman. Across all three of her albums, original music has been a consistent theme. During 2010-11 whilst studying for an MA in Songwriting, Sara collaborated with her brothers Mat and Andrew on Sem Amor and Some Other Wonder for the eponymous Colman Brothers album.
She also co-wrote the track Stay for Karen Street’s album Another Story
‘After growing up in Bristol I studied piano at Birmingham Conservatoire and gained a solid grounding in theory and harmony. I then spent several years working in a duo with the fine pianist Al Gurr and together we gradually undid a lot of our classical training to make way for the jazz music we had both fallen in love with. Gradually the duo expanded and I enjoyed the spontaneity and creativity of working with improvising musicians.’
Sara has also completed several commissions for larger vocal groups: Seven Songs for Seven Colours for Black Voices, as well as Celebrate and Amen for choral projects presented at Lichfield Cathedral and Birmingham Town Hall.
‘Marion Montgomery was very supportive and encouraging to me,’ Sara says of the late jazz singer. ‘Because of Marion, Jacqui Dankworth and I met when we both taught at an Montgomery/Holloway Music Trust summer school in 1999.’
Jacqui invited Sara to join her and Liane Carroll for a gig that included several three-part harmony songs, some rehearsed, some spontaneous. The set comprised many original songs by all three vocalists together with arrangements of jazz and contemporary classic songs by artists including Laura Nyro, Fran Landesman, Stevie Wonder and the Isley Brothers. For ten years they performed as The Passion alongside their solo careers featuring on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, at the Royal Festival Hall as well as touring with Shine in the Scottish Highlands. In 2011 their reunion gig was included as a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Line-Up.
Sara was a recipient of an inaugural Birmingham Jazz award, a Jerwood Rising Star at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and one of 10 finalists from 15,000 entries in the BBC Radio 2 songwriting competition ‘Sold on Song’. She was also Kevin Mahogany’s chosen artist in the Jazz Connect Vocal competition in the US.
Sara and her quintet have been invited to perform in the vocal showcase at the International Jazz Conference Jazzahead in Germany in April 2012. Further live appearances will include Jazzlines Rush Hour Blues in July and the CBSO Centre for a very special double bill in October. Sara will make guest appearances with The Colman Brothers at two fantastic festivals this summer– Mostly Festival and The Manchester Jazz Festival.
“I’m looking forward to Jazzahead and the gigs coming up this year, there’s some really great music in there and lots of amazing musicians to work with. I’m also looking forward to some quiet time as I’m recording a new album in the summer and there’s lots of unrealised music going around in my head that needs to be unleashed!!”