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Photo by Tereza Cervenova

Photo by Tereza Cervenova

My love of jazz was conceived at the tender age of seven, during Saturday afternoons spent watching MGM musicals. This quickly led to a discovery of the jazz vocal greats, such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, and a bit later to their instrumental counterparts. In my teens I attended a weekly free jazz workshop run by trumpeter Jim Dvorak. The musical directions I have taken seen have reflected these earlier interests in the jazz standard and free jazz. My main projects at the moment are Fumi Okiji’s Old Time Jazz Band, a great band featuring Stuart Hall, Idris Rahman, Ben Davis and Roy Dodds which draws on New Orleans, black vaudeville and the songbooks of Billie and Ella, and Jes Grew, which not so much a band as a platform to explore jazz through improvisation.

I enjoy jazz music from its very beginnings, through the golden era of jazz vocalists, modern jazz and the avant-garde movements of the sixties. So, my influences are wide and varied, taking in Louis Armstrong, Ellington, Billie Holiday, Monk, Betty Carter, Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Eric Dolphy, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Archie Shepp and Jeanne Lee.

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I’ve been lucky enough to play with some great, inspiring musicians including Stuart Hall, Ben Davis, Idris Rahman, Roy Dodds, Orphy Robinson, Noel Taylor, Nick Stephens, Tom Mason, Chris Vatalaro, Trevor Watkis, Adam Bishop, Stefano Kalonaris, Shabaka Hutchins, Mauritzio Ravalico, Larry Bartley, Fred Thomas, Joss Peach and Zac Gvi.

I recently released an album on the F-ire label as half of the experimental jazz duo, The Man Who Laughs.

Please get in contact if you’d like more information. My email address is fumerella@hotmail.com or give me a call, 07969 962 396.

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