About Becc Sanderson

 

Becc began her fantabulous career aged 18, in Perth, Western Australia. Plucked from obscurity to head the critically acclaimed rhythm and blues outfit The Sweet Blue Midnights, and using her full name of Elizabeth Sanderson, she quickly gained a reputation as a bluesy, torch singing chanteuse, with the stage presence of someone with twice her age and experience.

With her growing reputation came awards from the West Australian Music Industry Association (WAMIA) - Best Female Vocalist for two consecutive years (1990, 1991), and the band itself won the coveted “Most Promising New Band” (1989) title in their first year of existence. Their debut CD “This Year’s Kisses” was released Australia wide to critical acclaim(1993), culminating in an exhilarating national tour supporting American saxophonist, David Sanborn, playing the Regent Theatre in Perth, the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, and The Palais in Melbourne.

A sell-out New Year’s Eve performance at the Quarry Amphitheatre followed, after which The Sweet Blue Midnights took a well deserved breather, providing a perfect opportunity for Sanderson to explore the music that had been whispering in her ear since she was a child, Jazz.

Standards from the pens of Porter, Rogers and Hart, Gershwin et al were her next port of call, with Billie Holiday, Carmen McCrae, Dinah Washington and Judy Garland being her strongest influences. Forming The Elizabeth Sanderson Quintet, she rapidly found herself at the top of a smoking jazz heap, playing every Jazz dive in town, and supporting such artists as Tom Jones at the Leuwin Estate Concert, and James Morrison at the Mandurah Festival. And in 1994 she was voted Jazz Artist of the Year by the people in the know… her peers.

As featured vocalist for the world renowned West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) for several years, Sanderson shone particularly brightly in their “The Songs of Gershwin” series of concerts at the Perth Concert Hall (1998), and the Twilight Concert Series at Sandy Beach, Bassendean. With her quintet she headed the bill at the Geraldton Jazz Festival, and the Wanneroo Festival.

In 1997 Becc not only released her own self-penned and produced CD Beyond the Blue, but also had her first child; both in collaboration with her husband Chris Greive. The CD was a divine mix of Blues, Jazz and Folk, and received superlative revues, with national airplay and release.

The Sweet Blue Midnights briefly reformed in 1999 to headline at the Bridgetown Blues Festival, and a sell-out performance at the Regal Theatre in Perth, releasing their second CD “Sparkle”. It was at this time that she and her husband decided it was time to move to less isolated shores, arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland Easter 2000.

The change of climate led to a change of name and she reverted to being Becc Sanderson – a childhood nickname. Since her arrival she has had another child and had been establishing herself on the Scottish and UK scene. In 2005 Sanderson collaborated in the world of film, writing music and acting as production assistant for a children’s documentary entitled How Many Sleeps to the Moon, directed by Tracey Fearnehough. 2006 found Becc as featured artist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Big Band for their Proms Concerts at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh and The Royal Glasgow Concert Hall, and again starring in their Christmas Concerts across Scotland in the previously mentioned venues, plus the Aberdeen Music Hall, the Perth Concert Hall and the Hamilton Town Hall.

Added to this there have been yearly performances at the Spiegeltent at the Edinburgh Book Festival with the Beccworth Quartet, and with her lounge band The Counsellors at the Connect Festival in 2007, plus regular Vegas Club extravaganzas at Ocean Terminal, including headlining at their Hogmany Ball in both 2008 and 2009 to audiences of over 2000 people. Support slots with lounge/rap super star Jimmy Luxury (Philly, USA) and The Royal Crown Revue (LA, USA) were also performed with The Counsellors, plus the opening night party of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008, and the Edinburgh
Jazz and Blues Festival.

Starting in 2010 as a relatively straight ahead quartet recording featuring songs with flowers in their titles, PassionFlower is a career defining project now in it’s fourth year of growth. Inspired by Strayhorn’s complex song of heartache, it motivated Becc to create a show for Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Repertoire by Radiohead, Tom Waits and Piaf, it’s atmospheric arrangements dip into ambient-electronica co-created with husband Chris Greive for Electric Trombone and Guitar, performing for 21 nights at the New Town Theatre to 4 star reviews, plus the Shetland Jazz Festival (2012).

Collaboration with Scottish playwright Duncan Kidd helped Becc discover the inner voice/character of PassionFlower (2012), embracing the theatricality of the songs, taking the idea of the show from it’s simple germination to a transportative experience for the audience, into the world of “She”, her explorations of love, obsession, lust, romance, regret. Discovering this to be liberating for composition of her own songs, some are written from self discovery, with the majority written from the character “She”’s perspective, a new freedom. The expansion continues - double-bass added to the instrumentation, and performing the show to Perth, WA in September 2013 drums were added for the first time.

In 2013 Becc was invited back to Perth to appear as guest artist at the WAYJO 30th Anniversary Gala Concert, also performing two sellout gigs at the Ellington Jazz Club with a sextet of old friends. It’s inspired her to form The Becc Sanderson Sextet in Edinburgh using the cream of Scotland’s jazz talent, with a rip roaring debut at the Jazz Bar to a sellout audience on January 10th, 2014. A living Real Book of Becc Sanderson’s 25 year career, repertoire travels from retrospective - 1940’s R&B of Buddy and Ella Johnson, unrequited ache of a torch song, High Priest of Bop himself, Thelonius Monk, to the re-workings of the contemporary standard - David Bowie’s Life on Mars.

Photos By Ditte Solgaard, First Light Photography