Colette Cassidy & Nigel Clark first met at the Karlstadt Jazz Festival in Croatia in 2005, it proved to be an important encounter...
Some years later Nigel moved from his native Scotland to Colette's home town of Dublin and the two musicians began rehearsing together. They both recalled an intuitive musical chemistry between them; Colette’s rich and luxurious tone complementing Nigel’s sophisticated guitar playing. They started working to build a repertoire, exploring pop tunes and the jazz standard repertoire. Nigel suggested the possibility of songwriting together and shortly after that Colette wrote her first set of lyrics. Nigel was amazed at the depth and musicality of her first lyrics that “read like poetry”. Drawing on their mutual great love of melody and their skills in the art of improvisation they quickly developed a unique songwriting style that blends the traditions of the classic Irish Ballad and the great 20th century jazz composers.
Colette Cassidy is one of the finest vocal talents to come out of Ireland in recent years. Her effortless swinging style, perfect intonation, purity of tone and dazzling improvisations have led to comparisons with some of the great female singers of the Jazz Era.
Having left school in the early 90’s Colette began her musical training at the D.I.T College of Music where she studied classical music. Her talent was spotted early and she received a scholarship for five years.
As part of her musical studies Colette sang in Italian, German and French. Colette’s time in college was filled with success. She made her debut in The National Concert Hall Dublin singing the lead of Maria in The College of Music’s presentation of West Side Story and went on to great acclaim with leading roles in productions of Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Offenbach, Mozart and Puccini.
While developing her classical skills during the day Colette was following her love for jazz singing at night. She started performing at “The Actors Club” in The Gaiety Theatre where Mel Gibson became a regular during his time of shooting the film Braveheart. Other notable gigs included the rap party for Brendan O’Carroll’s movie “The Mammy” which was attended by Angelica Houston and John Rocca both of whom Colette now counts among her many fans. She was soon in great demand on the jazz scene fronting bands in venues such as Lillie’s Bordello, Reynard’s, The Globe, O’Brien’s and JJ Smyth’s.
Colette was now working with some of Dublin’s finest musicians, improving her knowledge and skills, Richie Buckley, Dave Fleming, Myles Drennan to name but a few. More prestigious work started coming her way in Reynard’s, The Sugar Club, the re-opening of Powerscourt and festivals in Dublin Castle.
In 2000 she had residencies in the Globe and Ely Wine Bar. Into the new century the pace of work as a performer continued and she appeared at the Cork Jazz Festival and the City of Derry Jazz Festival with John Wadham. In 2005 Colette met guitarist Drazen Derek from Croatia. They played a number of gigs together in Dublin before touring the Balkans including an appearance at The Karlstadt Jazz Festival, Croatia. Part of the same tour saw them perform in northern Italy and the Lake Como area.
While in Croatia Colette met with Scottish guitarist Nigel Clark and they formed a friendship that was to prove very important to both their future careers. Nigel moved to Dublin in 2014 and reconnected with Colette. The duo appeared together at various venues throughout Dublin and at the Dalkey Jazz Festival and the Bloom Music Festival.
It was at this point that they began a new creative collaboration culminating in the recording of twelve original songs.....
“Confetti Falling In The Rain”, their debut, is due for release in the Spring of 2017.
Nigel Clark is one of the UK’s top acoustic guitarists. Born in Scotland he began his professional career at the age of eighteen in London. In the late eighties Nigel joined the Glasgow band Hue & Cry. He recorded and toured with them in the UK, Europe and in the U.S. and he also contributed arrangements to the band’s top ten singles and albums. High profile collaborations followed with Moya Brennan, (lead singer with Clannad), and with jazz vocalist Carol Kidd. He also worked on BBC TV as musical director and guitarist for soul superstar Gloria Gaynor. Nigel’s first recording as a band leader, “Worldwide Sound” featured some of the UK’s top instrumentalists, including multi award-winning pianist Brian Kellock, saxophonist Tim Garland, (now with Chick Corea’s Origins Band) Ewen Vernal on bass and Mike Bradley on drums. The album wowed the critics, showcasing Nigel’s highly eclectic compositional style, and it reached the top ten in the UK jazz charts. Following the recording Nigel appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival at the invitation of his boyhood hero, guitarist Jan Akkerman. In Cannes the same year he performed with Akkerman, Terje Rypdal and Wolfgang Muthspiel in a band featuring eleven of Europe’s elite guitarists. The performance was witnessed by Bob Karcy, CEO of Grammy-winning New York label Arkadia Records who invited Nigel to sign an exclusive five-album recording deal. “Grand Hotel Europa” Nigel’s first CD release in the U.S. featured five of his trademark compositions and marked a permanent switch to nylon-strung acoustic guitar.
In 2012 Nigel recorded his first album of solo guitar arrangements titled “Under The Stars” for the Edinburgh based Circular Records and began touring as a solo concert guitarist. Nigel has worked for ten years with Dutch jazz violinist Tim Kliphuis’ groundbreaking classical/folk/jazz trio. Described as “the most breathtaking show you’ll hear this year” the trio’s performances have blazed a trail across Europe, delighting audiences with their “total music” where improvisation is set at the core of a myriad of music styles. In May 2015 in Amsterdam the Tim Kliphuis Trio performed a special arrangement of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and violin virtuoso Gordan Nikolic. In 2016 Sony Classical Records flew the trio to Cape Town, South Africa to record the album "Reflecting The Seasons" The Music Of Antonio Vivaldi with the Stellenbosch Camerata Orchestra. Other high profile projects for Nigel have included a duo concert performance with the Belgian guitar legend Philip Catherine. Back in Scotland Nigel co-founded the Scottish Guitar Quartet, performing at major European festivals including the Vienna Guitar Festival. With Russian Gypsy violinist Oleg Ponomarev and classical violinist Lev Atlas Nigel formed the trio “Koshka”. In January 2015 Koshka appeared at the prestigious Sundsvall Music Festival, Sweden, with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra under the direction of conductor Maria Eklund. Nigel now lives in Dublin where he has embarked on exciting, new projects with some of the best Irish musicians including guitarist Hugh Buckley and vocalist/songwriter Colette Cassidy.