Vocalist Becky Alice, a recent graduate from the jazz course at Trinity Laban, has taken over the running of the Wednesday night gig at Oliver’s Club in Nevada Street, Greenwich, from pianist Sam Leak. Becky was the winner of the second prize in the 2022 Ella Fitzgerald Competition in the US.
The Venue: Oliver’s Club
For those who have never been to Oliver’s, it is London’s answer to the basement jazz club. The cozy venue features live jazz every night of the week, small candle-lit tables, an intimate stage, and a large back room away from the music. One of the things that makes the venue unique is the limited separation between the audience and the performers.
The Format of Wednesday Nights
The evenings at Oliver’s have a set structure. The night begins with a set of music from a house band. The members of the house band change each week, featuring different guest horn and rhythm section players. After a short break, a jam session begins, lasting from 10 pm to 11:15 pm.
Supporting Live Music
Becky has been involved in live music from a young age, with jazz musicians as her teachers. Early on, she worked in videography for the Hideaway in Streatham and behind the bar and in the kitchen at The Junction in Loughborough Junction. It wasn’t until she attended a summer course with Trudy Kerr and Anita Wardell in 2017 that she considered studying at the degree level.
The Impact of Trinity Laban
Becky credits her time at Trinity Laban for her growth as a musician and a person. She appreciates the vibrant and creative learning environment that Hans Koller has established there. Becky also highlights several influential teachers at Trinity Laban, including Trudy Kerr, Brigitte Beraha, Julian Siegel, Bruno Heinen, and Cleveland Watkiss.
Upcoming Gigs at Oliver’s
Becky has already booked several exciting performances for the coming weeks, including appearances by Sam Leak, Donovan Haffner, and Jay Phelps. These talented musicians bring a diverse range of experience to the stage, from playing with Wynton Marsalis to Amy Winehouse.
Ensuring Quality at Jam Sessions
To maintain a high standard of performance during jam sessions, Becky carefully selects musicians who will play well together. She believes that spontaneous music creation utilizing the shared language of jazz material is essential for continuing the tradition of jam sessions.
A Mix of Generations
Becky is a firm believer in mixing generations in jazz bands. She thinks there’s something valuable to gain from bringing together musicians with different levels of experience and backgrounds.
Dream Guests at Oliver’s
Becky has a long list of dream guests that she would love to see perform at Oliver’s, including Jazzmeia Horn, Samara Joy, Cecile Mclorin Salvant, Patrick Bartley, Emmet Cohen, Kenny Barron, Nicole Glover, and Alexa Tarantino. She also hopes to have Anita Wardell, one of her idols, perform at the venue in the future.
Tables can be booked in advance by calling Oliver’s on 020 8858 3693. Tickets are cash on the door (£10 or £5 for students and jam participants). Arriving at 8:30 pm usually ensures a good table without booking.