Award-winning flautist, composer, teacher and expert proponent of vocal gymnastics Keith Waithe produces and promotes an international musical style, exploring an original fusion of jazz, classical, African, Caribbean, Asian and Western influences.
Keith mixes many sounds, fusing enigmatic musicals forms in performance in addition to working on radio, theatre and television pieces, utilising his unique drive for a sound that moves audiences chilled out spiritually and sensually. Keith’s enormous stage presence and his sense of showmanship helps to make the audience at each live concert a unique experience as was highlighted at the Ealing Jazz Festival (7,000 people) and The Brecon International Jazz Festival (3,000 people).
Keith first learned to play the trumpet from his late father in Guyana and during his formal music training there, transferred to the flute. He developed a passion for the instrument, mastering it at the University of Surrey and the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, where he gained an LRSM Diploma and the PGCE Teaching Certificate. Keith lives and works in the United Kingdom.
Keith formed the Macusi Players,taking the name from the powerful Macusis Amerindian tribe from Guyana
Their recent appearance at the Ealing Jazz Festival was noted by British Newspaper The Guardian “Virtuoso Flautist Waithe and his ensemble” was pick of the week as a concert not be missed. The Arts Council Of England – Three Cities create and connect project Commissioned Keith to developed and lead a new World Music Supergroup “Musicque et Espectacio” which was great success in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.
Keith was appointed Musician / Artists in Residence with Oxford Contemporary Music and the Harrow Arts Centre.
Recently, Keith has worked and successfully conducted several music workshop sessions/ performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as part of their “A taste of Africa” series. Played with Mercury Prize winner Nitin Sawhney in The Macusi Players.
Keith and members of the Macusi Players has been invited to festivals and performances all over the world including: India, Denmark, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Sudan, Ghana, France, Geneva, Peru, Guyana, New York, Columbia and The Cayman Islands, sponsored by the British Council.
Keith has made numerous media appearances including Midweek and Kaleidoscope on BBC Radio 4, Night Waves on Radio 3, Mad About Music on Radio 2 and performed in the Motion Picture Ragtime.
Battersea Arts Centre hosted a sell out performances in May and September of that year of Keith’s debut one man show ‘126 Flutes’. Keith in the past created and programmed some exciting & innovatory events as part of an artistic developmental process at the Eden Project, Cornwall and in Ealing schools. Workshop residencies include the following:
Some of Keith’s Flute Collection
Brecon Jazz Festival: 2001 Market Hall Concert review, Keith Waithe and his band of Macusi players brought some vibrant sunshine to the Brecon Jazz Festival
By James Lachno
11:04AM BST 16 Aug 2011
As the rain beat down on Brecon early on Sunday afternoon, Guyanese-born flautist Keith Waithe, alongside his eclectic Macusi players backing band, brought his own sunshine to the festival with a charming musical tour of warmer climes.
Waithe – a sometime teacher, composer, and radio-show talking head who mastered the flute while studying at Surrey University – formed the Macusi players in the mid-Noughties as a vehicle for his showcasing his diverse musical interests. The band are certainly a varied bunch; from an ageing, hippyish Brazilian percussionist, through Pakistani-born rock guitarist, to a baby-faced jazz drummer who can’t be older than 17.
Incongruous they may seem, but together the band created a vibrant, uninhibited culture-clash sound. They were a popular pull at least year’s festival, a fact made plain by the half dozen different people from the crowd whom I overheard personally welcoming Waithe back. It wasn’t hard to see why.
Things started sombrely enough, with Kora-player Jo Jo Yates, sat centre-stage, playing a hypnotic solo lament. Soon Waithe joined him, weaving ethereal flute lines around Yates’ repeated figure. It was an achingly beautiful start, but turned out to be only a prelude; as the full complement of Macusi players took the stage, suddenly booming afro-jazz was filling the hall, as bold as the striking golds and greens on Waithe’s robe.
The band’s sound often echoed the great Fela Kuti, but had a richer, less visceral quality, swapping percussive funk for jazzy piano leads and a less combative rhythmic framework.
Archive for August, 2011
JazzCotech Dancers are from different parts of the UK, brought together by Perry Louis, who founded the group in the early 90’s. As individuals, JazzCotech Dancers are all ‘Clubbers’ who have had no or very little Dance training. We are all from different social and cultural backgrounds with different takes on Jazz Dance and we are all very individual, in style as well as personality. What we have in common, however, is that we all love Jazz and we all love to dance to Jazz. Perry chooses the Dancers for those very reasons: individuality and that special something are a must to be a JazzCotech Dancer – equally important is a strong passion for Jazz, JazzFunk, Funk or Soul music and the ability to ‘let go’ and lose yourself on a dance floor. All of that makes for a strong group unit and as a group, we are the most versatile and busiest Jazz Dance group in the UK at present, as well as the only one teaching, promoting and showcasing the art of UK Street-Fusion Jazz Dance.
JazzCotech Dancers have danced for and alongside all sorts of musical greats and have appeared at all major international Jazz and Music festivals; e.g. St Lucia, Montreux, Furano and North Sea Jazz Festivals, as well as Phoenix, Brecon and Glastonbury festivals. We have danced with numerous Jazz and Funk bands and have supported well-known artists such as James Brown, Maceo Parker, Jamiroquai, Incognito, Mark Murphy, Wynton Marsalis and Jon Hendricks, to name but a few.
But we haven’t just stopped at dancing; as we are passionate about the music, we feel that by dancing, we make the music visible. Through shows and club promotions, we are constantly approached for lessons so we are now regularly teaching classes up and down the country, for both adults and young people; in fact, we started our own junior group 2 years ago, The JazzCotech Juniors who are now a successful Dance group in their own right with an impressive portfolio of shows under their belt already. As such, we see ourselves as educators of the Jazz scene and every person we introduce to Jazz Dance is often new to Jazz Music, too.
JazzCotech and Street-Fusion Jazz Dance will always be a predominantly club related phenomenon, however, it is our current and future mission to re-educate the Jazz Music scene, most of which seems to have moved away from its original free and rhythmical roots into an arena of technical ability and endless scales. Jazz is constantly being analysed; the intellectual types are trying to understand it so they in turn can lecture and pigeonhole it. Like a lot of things in life that start from small beginnings of wildness and freedom, Jazz Music is in danger of loosing the fun element of free expression. As a result, many young Musicians we come across don’t see Jazz as a Music which was always meant to be a Dance Music and aren’t aware that the 2 go hand in hand. So, we go wherever we can to spread the word. Long may it continue.
JazzCotech Dancers are a complete reflection of Street-Fusion Jazz Dance
JazzCotech have worked on educational projects over the years and to name all of them would take up all of the website. Below are the most memorable and influential projects we have been involved with
(JazzCotech Juniors – All Grown Up!)
what started a few years ago as an experiment has become one of the biggest phenomenon of the UK Jazz Dance scene. Whilst teaching Dance for Redbridge and Luton Borough Council in 2003, Christiane got frustrated with the lack of awareness from young people on where today’s popular music has its roots. So when she was asked to put together ‘something different’ for a Dance show in Ilford, she hand picked 6 young people and taught them a Jazz Dance choreography, using JazzCotech teaching principles and dropping a tune of heavy Brazilian Fusion Jazz on her youngsters. They took to it like ducks to water because it was something totally different from the ‘Street Dance to R&B’ which was usually on offer to them. Building on that first successful experiment, Christiane put together Dancers from Essex and Luton to start up a totally new group
Born were The JazzCotech Juniors who performed some amazing shows between 2005 and 2007. Since these young people are, however, growing up fast, we took the decision at the end of 2007 to give them a new name: JazzCo2.
JazzCo2 are our living proof that young people can be interested in Jazz Music and Dance and thanks to some stonking performances at The Jazz Café, Kenneth Moore Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall and Luton Carnival, they have continuously helped us to prove our critics wrong that youngsters just aren’t interested. They are – you just have to take it to them. So, under Christiane’s Leadership, Anna, Annabelle, Laura, Maria, Shannon and Sophie will continue the legacy of JazzCotech in years to come, no doubt. If you are between the age of 14 and 18 and are interested in watching or participating in a JazzCo2 rehearsal, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Street-Fusion Jazz Dance Classes
The Hat Factory, 65-67 Bute Street, Luton LU1 2EU
In addition to our regular classes for Adults as part of Shiftless Shuffle, we also hold courses at the hat factory, 65 Bute Street , Luton . Courses run for 8 weeks at the time and include a choreography which will be performed by Course participants at the hat factory at the end of the course.
Not School Project
Not School is a Charity organisation who helps disadvantaged young people who cannot attend school for serious personal reasons. Our collaboration with Not School consisted of the development and delivery of Street Jazz Dance workshops, with an element of education on the roots of both Jazz Music and Dance. The workshops were designed exclusively with the objective to build the young people’s confidence, encourage them to work with other young people and perform what they’ve learned to a limited audience. This was a national project covering the whole of the UK over a 3 month period.
In October 2001, we were especially honoured to take our Dance style to Yale University in Connecticut, USA. The Centre of British Arts, associated with Yale University invited us to present a lecture on Street-Fusion-Jazz-Dance, its history, origins and future, and ourselves, which was a fairly new concept to us at the time. In addition, we spent several days working with 2 very different groups of students: one a group of Students of the actual University, the other a group of Students of a ‘Technical College’ in the neighbourhood. Normally, these Students would not mix, as they are from total opposites of the social spectrum. Through Jazz Dance, we brought them together, as they had to learn and perform a choreography at the end of the week. The experience was a new phenomenon at Yale and one which has yet to be repeated.
Jazz FM School Project
Between 1999 and 2001, we partnered Jazz FM Radio’s educational programme of teaching the history of Jazz Music and Dance in secondary schools throughout the UK. Over the 3 year programme, we visited some 100 schools which had answered an invitation to participate in the programme by Nestlé who sponsored the event. At each school, the young people were taught a 3 hour workshop in either Jazz Music or Jazz Dance. During the workshops, they learned either a musical score or a dance choreography, which they would then have to perform in front of their peers, teachers and families during an evening concert at the end of the day, performing alongside the JazzCotech Dancers and the Jazz FM Quartet. This was definitely the largest educational programme we have been involved in so far which paved the way for our own educational projects.