Steeze and other things…….

After a while of no blogging I’m struggling to get back into the swing of it! So here’s just a quick blog to share some lovely things.
I’m really excited to be singing as a part of an event called Steeze tonight. Starting at 6pm at the Amersham Arms in New Cross. For more info, check out the facebook event and the steeze facebook page

I’m singing a short set of new, original tunes, with a new band. There are so so many other amazing acts tonight and I’m delighted to be part of this community.

Aside from live gigs, I’ve been doing a lot of recording this month, collaborating with some producers… will post more on that soon!
And I am thrilled to say that The Burning Glass – with whom I sing backing vocals – have just recorded their debut album in Lewes in the good times music studio with the lovely Duncan and Robin. More info on the album launch soon.
Link for the studio

And a little gem for the rainy January days… or just all year round!

Lilli x

Alan Hampton and Bennie Maupin

The other day I was lucky enough to have two masterclasses at college in one day – Alan Hampton and Bennie Maupin. A great part of being at college is that really amazing artists get invited in to talk and work with us. Both musicians that I admire and have admired for a while now, so I was thrilled to experience this!
In the morning a small group of us – singers and some rhythm section players – had a songwriting workshop with Alan Hampton. He started by playing us a song he’d wrote (Elevator Ride) and then explained the form of the song and how he came to write it. When he played it a second time it was interesting to be able to understand the song a lot better, he also gave us a kind of running commentary on the meaning of the lyric as he sang. It was really helpful to see up close the methods and devices different people use for writing. I was really lucky to workshop a couple of songs I have written and get some feedback from Alan.

After seeing how he worked I might try and implement some methods he uses into my own writing. After I sang some of my classmates workshopped some of their songs. This was amazing to hear as there were some really great songs. In a workshopping situation I often find it really useful as some of the things I point out to my peers are things that I need to work on. I was frantically scribbling away, writing down some of the advice Alan gave others. Apart from some specific writing advice he gave us lots to think about: writing in collaboration, committing to ideas and problem solving.


In the afternoon we got to spend some time with the lovely Bennie Maupin. He told us about working with minds like Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. It was so interesting to hear how he got into music and what it was like to grow up and go hear and talk to people like John Coltrane. It was apparent that he got asked about Miles Davis pretty frequently… yet he still had to think about the answer and it was as fresh as ever. What I liked most about Bennie was how genuine he was. He was such an inspiring person to have around us. I was surprised when he told me not many people ask him about the album Thrust. I suppose because I love that album so much I assumed it would be brought up often when he meets people!

Something that will stick with me for a while I hope is something Bennie said along the lines of ‘what comes from your heart is more important than what comes from your brain.’ This is something I’ve always thought and it was really important for me to have that affirmed by someone I admire a lot! It’s kind of crazy the amount of people Bennie has played with over the years, but this is a tune I love and have checked out this video tons… just got pretty excited to be around someone who I’ve listened to a lot!

Check them out… they’re brilliant!
Lilli x

A little gig review from my lovely bass player!

Following a gig we did a few days ago Steve wrote a little review. Very complementary and slightly inaccurate (I didn’t write the whole set of tunes, some were tunes written by others that I had arranged.) But nevertheless lovely words from Stephen Street – amazing musician and friend. Check the review (and his blog) out.

Hope you’re enjoying the beautiful November sun as much as I am!
Lilli x


Read on to find out what I’ve been listening to, seeing and thinking about recently!

Top 5 tunes I’ve been checking out this week!

I Can’t Give Anything But Love – Ella Fitzgerald off the amazing Ella In Rome album which I used to listen to tons years back and have just revisited!
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) – Michael Jackson off another killer album Thriller.
Look – Andy Bey, an obscure tune that I’m trying to locate so I can sing it… but I haven’t got a clue who wrote it.. It’s on the album American Song, a great album. I absolutely adore Andy Bey… He’s in my top 3/5 singers of all time..!
Jinrikisha – Joe Henderson, on the album Page One. This a tune I’ve been learning for my college combo. (Thurs 24th oct @ Oliver’s Greenwich, 8pm) I’ve hugely enjoyed whacking out loud modal tunes and singing along to the head in preparation for our gig!
And last but definitely not least Blue… Joni Mitchell.. The album… which I realise isn’t strictly a tune but I love the whole album and can’t really choose one of the tunes and I’m making the rules here… so yeah…!

Apart from checking out tons of really cool music recently I’ve been learning tunes and writing out charts for a cool gig in November.. I’m really excited about singing a set of modern (ish) tunes, some wordless, some beautiful lyrics and a few lyrics/arrangements/tunes that I’ve written.


This is the beginning of getting together this kind of repertoire/sound/vibe… The gig will include a few Herbie Hancock tunes and each gig I do I’m hoping to whip out some more as I just love his compositions!

The first rehearsal is in a few days, fingers crossed it goes well! After brainstorming about what tunes to play with my brilliant drummer/friend Jake Long we decided on some musicians to ask to play on the gig and luckily they’re available!

Joining Jake and myself are these great guys:

Reiss Beckles – Alto Sax

Harrison Cole – Trumpet

Jean de Talhouet – Guitar

Joe Armon Jones – Piano

Steve Street – Bass

(Jake Long – Drums)

(Lilli Unwin- Voice)

The gig is on Thursday 14th of Novemer 2013 at Olivers, Greenwich, start by 9pm.

On a parting note, I recently went to see The Bannau Trio’s album launch at Kings Place as part of the Whirlwind Festival. This trio have really inspired since I heard them first a few years ago, both directly as Nia was my singing teacher in my first year of college and indirectly through spending long hours listening to their albums. Norma Winstone was their guest and it really was a great gig. I would urge everyone to buy the album they’ve just released which is called Points Of View, I’m completely mesmerised by the title track Two Points Of View. Bearing this inspiration in mind I’ve recently started a project with the wonderful pianist Sam James, we are exploring the possibilities within duo playing…watch this space!

Thanks for reading (if you got this far….)

Lilli x