Clare Teal is delighted to be returning to Chichester Festival Theatre with her Big Mini Big Band to mark the start of the New Year.
She and they will be at the venue on Wednesday, January 9 at 7.30pm.
“We were there last year and it is lovely to come back. It is such a beautiful theatre. You are really in the crowd, really surrounded by the audience, and I love that.
“I think it is great. I love rooms where it is easy to make a connection with the audience. Sometimes, in the bigger rooms, it can actually be a bit tricky, but Chichester was great.
“From what I remember, it had a similar vibe to the Albert Hall. You can reach out quite easily.
“The other thing that is so wonderful is that so many people are prepared to come out to listen to music in January.
“The more I think about it, the more I think it is a shared experience.”
There is a great commonality about music, Clare believes – a real linking together of artist to audience and audience to audience.
“You are in the room together, you are sitting between two other people, you are listening to the music. It is such a shared experience between everyone.
“And music is powerful stuff. It is so memory linked. It is linked to all the feelings and all the senses. It triggers memories.
“The songs become signposts in our lives, whether you are hearing them for the first time and thinking ‘Oh, I like that’ or you are hearing familiar songs you love.”
The Chichester concert will be partly a farewell to 2018: “It will be a send-off for last year’s music, and it was a wonderful year. Musically it has been really, really nourishing... and we have just had lots and lots of fun with the work we have been doing.”
But now it is nearly time to move on.
“We start our new show in February, and this will be a best-of of the things we have been doing in 2018, though we might put a couple of new ones in. It will be as smooth as!
“We have had so much fun in 2018, It was the first year we had arrangements specifically for this band.
“We have reduced well-known big-band arrangements in the past, but in 2018 we had four different arrangers, and it makes such a difference, especially when they are arrangers within the band who know the people and what they can do.
“It is the difference between buying something off the peg and having it hand made.”
As for February, Clare isn’t sure yet the extent to which she will be wiping the slate clean.
“We have done so much good stuff that I am reluctant to let go of, and I am due an album. We are really behind schedule.
“We need to get a new record out, and we have got all this wonderful material. I really want to make a recording with the band. I really love the balance of it.
“The sound is great, and these are all pieces that we have played in and so it is the perfect time to make a recording. That’s the luxury of doing it this way round. Often you will make the record and then tour it, but with this, we have got all this material that we know so well and have played a lot.”
And that means, Clare suspects, a trip to the recording studio in January, February or March – with a view to getting a new album out before the end of 2019.
“Recording can be quite fun but it can also be torturous. I am leaning more and more towards the idea of always recording things live.
“Having done quite a few vocals and recorded at the same time, I just think it sounds better.
“You can hear the adrenalin almost.
“You can’t necessarily hear that a recording wasn’t all made in the same room at the same time, but I think you can actually hear it when it was… if that makes sense!”