The Johanna Graham Quartet




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The Johanna Graham Quartet

Recently signed by the 33 Jazz label, The Johanna Graham Quartet comprises the elegant and hugely accomplished guitar phrasing of Martin Bowie, an exciting and vital drumming talent in Damian Rodd, brilliant and sensitive double bass from Tim Greenhalgh and Johanna herself on vocals.

The Johanna Graham Quartet beginnings

The journey began in 2005 when Johanna discovered Martin as he was completing his jazz degree and the pair began to work together as a duo. In 2008 Johanna incorporated Tim Greenhalgh on bass, with Damian Rodd completing The Johanna Graham Quartet two years ago, forming a tight and enthusiastic team. The band are extremely popular in Cornwall having entertained audiences in the south west for many years, and with the release of their new album, they have been venturing further afield. Johanna's captivating stage presence and emotive style puts a fresh spin on jazz standards, with original compositions and modern classics arranged in her own unique way, and together the group produce a passionate and exciting sound. The Johanna Graham Quartet won the ‘This Is Cornwall Best Jazz Act’ in 2012, and were nominated for Best Jazz Act in the South West Music Awards.

The Johanna Graham Quartet members

Johanna Graham, the lead singer of The Johanna Graham Quartet, is an emotive and accomplished singer and a dynamic performer. Originally training and working as an actress, her passion for jazz started with a love of old movies whilst growing up. Her Thespian background lends sincerity and a sense of drama to her live shows. Her sweet and mellow voice is Influenced by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day and Julie London, and her vocal interpretation makes every performance special and very personal.

Martin Bowie, the guitarist of The Johanna Graham Quartet, is a Bachelor of the Arts in Contemporary World Jazz. He is an accomplished guitarist with roots in blues, funk and acid-jazz and over 20 years experience, his influences include Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow and George Benson. Martin has worked with artists including New Orleans jazz ambassador Lillian Boutte, trumpet player Damon Brown and saxophonist Raphael Ravenscroft, flamenco guitarist Esteban Antonio and Marty Wilson-Piper (guitarist in The Church and All About Eve).

Tim Greenhalgh is the bassist of The Johanna Graham Quartet. At age 17 Tim discovered the music of Joni Mitchell and Jaco Pastorius, which inspired him to the fretless bass, During his 20’s he performed in a wide genre of music and worked extensively in both the festival and club scene. Tim has 25 years experience as a bassist, performing with renowned jazz artists including Damon Brown and Brandon Allen. He is strongly influenced by the work of John Taylor, Palle Danielsson, Dave Holland, Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro.

Damian Rodd is son of pianist Viv Rodd. His musical career started at 14. Whilst a member of trip hop band Lowpass, Damian toured with Lamb and Tricky, refuelling his love for electronic music and crossover styles. Since moving to Cornwall, Damian has set up a production studio (Big Milk) and teaches jazz to degree level. He produced the album 8am (named album of the week in the London Evening Standard) with his father and vocalist Kris Gayle. Damian’s influences include Vinnie Colaiuta, Buddy Rich, Tony Williams & Jojo Mayer.

The Johanna Graham Quartet has performed at the Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, 606 Club, Barbican International Jazz & Blues Festival, Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival, Bude Jazz Festival, Teignmouth Jazz Festival, St Ives Jazz Club, the Groucho Club, London, The National Trust, RNAS Culdrose - HMS Seahawk, the Headland Hotel, Newquay and the Daphne Du Maurier Festival as well as extensively across the South West of England.

Related Listings

Country United Kingdom
City - Other/International -
State/Province - Other/International -
Performer Type Musical Act

2 responses to “The Johanna Graham Quartet”

  1. Peter Quinn says:

    Johanna Graham (v), Martin Bowie (g), Tim Greenhalg (b), Damian Rodd (d).

    This début release from Penzance-based jazz vocalist Johanna Graham showcases a fine singer with a palpably individual style. The eclectic track list ranges from The Beatles (“I Will”) to standards (“Stormy Weather”) to more contemporary pop (Kate Bush’s “The Man With The Child In His Eyes”). The press release cites the influence of Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Julie London and Stacey Kent on the singer. On account of her lyricism, purity of sound, phrasing and sense of space, I would also add Chet Baker to that list. Highlights include a beautifully paced “I’m Through With Love”, James Taylor’s classic “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely”, plus “Empty Serenade”, one of a brace of self-penned songs by the singer and her guitarist, Martin Bowie. Fringe Magnetic’s Rory Simmons guests on trumpet and contributes some fine solos, while the singer’s bandmates provide the perfectly weighted and understated accompaniment, with unfussy arrangements courtesy of Bowie.

    Peter Quinn

  2. Nicholas Mondello says:

    Johanna Graham Quartet – “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely”

    Years back, there was a fascinating self-help book entitled The Road Less Traveled (Simon and Schuster, 1978) by psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck. The premise of that long-time #1 best-selling effort was simple: in Life sometimes making a riskier choice—where the unknown awaits—can be the most rewarding. Perhaps taking Peck’s suggested advice, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely by British vocalist Johanna Graham takes a right turn at a musical crossroads and, for the most part, the result is a musically satisfying journey.
    The recording offers up eleven interestingly presented selections wherein the vocalist—she from Cornwall-By the Sea—and her session mates make an auspicious splash. It is a noteworthy debut recording.
    Graham’s vocal approach across the date is intriguing and approachable. She possesses a fine voice that tends to shine on the more energetic pieces. Her intonation is spot on and her rhythmic nuance is ideal. Her vibrato is fast—Eartha Kitt rapid—and when engaged, detracts somewhat from the beauty of her overall sonority. Her dynamic shadings are interesting and not extreme in either direction. Based on this recording, it’s obvious that this is a vocalist with some intriguing potential.
    There are three well-worn GAS classics on the date (“Stormy Weather,” “Summertime,” “I’m Through With Love”) and Graham performs them well. However, her star shines brighter on the more unusual efforts. For example, a neat rendition—and a terrific production choice—of The Doors’ “People Are Strange,” is turned inside-out as up-tempo swing and is a perfect vehicle for Graham’s interpretative skills. It is indicative of her apparent unique ability to choose wisely and make things happen with fare more well-known in another genre. Kate Bush’s “The Man with the Child in His Eyes” also gets the faster take, however, doesn’t seem to work as well at the faster tempo.
    The piano-less supporting cast are all top-flight players and frame Graham exceptionally well. They swing heavy. Guitarist Martin Bowie sends up some tasty solos (“Don’t Let Me Lonely Tonight”) as does trumpeter Rory Simmons (“Too Much”). Bassist Tim Greenhalgh and drummer Damian Rodd drive the band exceedingly well.
    All things considered, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely is an enjoyable introduction to an emerging vocal talent. So, when the musical crossroads choice appears, turn right here.
    Track Listing: The Man with the Child in His Eyes; Funny Not Much; I Will; Too Much; I’m Through with Love; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; People Are Strange; Empty Serenade; When Sunny Gets Blue; Stormy Weather; Summertime.
    Personnel: Johanna Graham: vocals; Martin Bowie: guitar; Tim Greenhalgh: bass; Damian Rodd: drums; Rory Simmons: trumpet.

    Nicholas F Mondello

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