The Maria Speight Quintet
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The Maria Speight Quintet

Newburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Newburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Maria Speight is an American lass who's recently moved to Perth where she's been turning a few heads performing at various venues including Patrick's monthly blues session.

Independently Blue is a collection of eight songs-seven covers and one original piece written with the bass player featured on the CD. Although Music Scene is generally critical of artists recording material that isn't their own, Maria's CD kind of sidesteps that issue for two reasons. First up, it's fairly traditional jazz material. Secondly, the purpose of the recording is showcase her fine vocal talents and it succeeds very well.

From the exquisite bass, drum and piano-let opening bars of Cole Porter's classic "Love For Sale" it's obvious that this is an accomplished project and when Maria's vocal comes in, the sheer quality of the performance is underlined. With a heavy line.

We are not particularly well-versed in jazz and it's performance nuances here at Music Scene, but that doesn't mean we can't form an opinion based purely on what we hear. Jack Segal's "When Sunny Gets Blue," the second track, comes across with the kind of laid back assurance that only a very confident performer could pull off. The vocal dynamics---from lazy laid back lines to emotion-laiden passages---are fairly impressive and competently augmented by the band and, in particular, some fine sax (well, sounds like a sax to us!) parts.

"All Of You" is a more jaunty affair as is the upbeat "Summer Samba"-another two immaculately performed pieces.

Of the many highlights, Gus Kahn's "Love Me Or Leave Me"-famously covered by Nina Simone-and the original track "Things I Wanna Do" stand out.

Maria also included another CD featuring two house/trance mixes of "Love"-a collaboration with Spanish DJ Tommy Traxx. Her powerful foice is just as at home on this dance material as it is jazz and shows great versatility whether Maria choosed the commercial/dance route or jazz. Or both.

-Dave Arcari

- Perthshire Advertiser


Discography

"Independently Blue," The Maria Speight Quintet, 2001. "Love For Sale" was released for radio airplay for 6 months on Onda Cero Radio, Altea, Spain. Members of MSQ Spain are retired BBC Radio and Television Orchestra musicians, formerly of the Mediterranean Jazz Quartet.

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Bio

A very talented American Lady with real Zing in every live performance. This very accomplished Jazz vocalist totally entertains with her rich and dynamic presentation. The Maria Speight Quintet is a must, not to be missed.....Graham Oliphant,
Festival Director / Callander Jazz and Blues Festival

I've seen Maria a few times and in performance she is most impressive in getting an audience on her side. Typically American, she takes no prisoners with her great repertoire of standards, gospel and blues. Great live performer!......Derek Gorman,
Assembly Direct

Maria and her top-class group are always welcome at Edinburgh's famous Jazz Bar (www.thejazzbar.co.uk). She delivers a dynamic show with great vocals, an engaging and interactive audience style, and quality music.....
Bill Kyle, The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

MSQ offers something different. The musicians are the accomplished creme of Scottish jazz and will undoubtedly create and generate a lot of interest. We are able to work together in any combination, from duo to quintet, adapting to any size and situation. Our focus blends the Great American Songbook, while excelling in material by Aretha Franklin, Maria Muldaur, Stevie Wonder, and George Benson, just to name a few. We have performed at the festivals in Keswick, Meadows, Kirkcudbright, Largs, Perth, Hamilton and Aberdeen, the Edinburgh Fringe 2005-2008, and have been playing at well-known venues, such as The Lemon Tree, Rusty Nail, and Albyn Restaurant and Bar in Aberdeen, The Gleneagles Hotel, Stirling Castle, Perth Concert Hall, the APEX Hotel and Spa and Sax Steakhouse in Dundee, Queens and Royal Hotels in Bridge of Allen, Garioch Jazz Club in Inverurie, as well as the The Jazz Bar, Balmoral Hotel (NB’s), The Lot, The Voodoo Rooms, Royal Physician's College, Centotre, The Jamhouse, and 80 Queen Street in Edinburgh.  Our music was featured at events such as the Edinburgh Arts College, Silverburn in Glasgow, as well as the grand opening reception of Brooks Brothers in Edinburgh. We have a demo of songs that represent the scope of our repertoire.  

Maria Speight
Vocalist Maria Speight is originally from Savannah, Georgia, United States, but is now based in Perth, Scotland. Vocally seducing with her smooth, sultry and dynamic musical performance, she is a singer with great passion and a magnificent voice. Maria delivers a sensual and stunning performance, transforming jazz and blues favourites into her own heavenly style.

Maria has performed with some of London's most experienced BBC musicians on the Costa Blanca in Spain, mainly with members of the well-known Mediterranean Jazz Quartet. She has also performed with Colin Steele, Jazz Main and Dave Patrick, to name of few. Maria recently participated in the fundraiser in Glasgow for New Orleans relief. She has performed in festivals in Alabama, the Javea and Alicante Jazz Festivals, Keswick, Meadows, Largs, Hamilton and Aberdeen Jazz Festivals, as well as the Edinburgh Fringe 2005-08. She released her first jazz album, "Independently Blue" in 2001. A new jazz album is scheduled to be released in Autumn 2009. Maria is also the resident female vocalist for the Groove Cru, a jazz funk function band. Maria has also performed in exciting venues all across the UK such as 80 Queen Street, Perth Concert Hall, The Lot, Jools Holland's Jam House, Centotre, NB's at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh; The Brel, Glasgow; The Rusty Nail, The Lemon Tree, The Albyn, Aberdeen; The Garioch Jazz Club, Inverurie; Sax Steakhouse, Dundee; as well as Noriz, Roca Blu and Patrick's Wine Bar in Perth.

Steve Grossart
Steve is a classically trained pianist and trumpeter, who by the age of fifteen had begun to already make a name for himself as a very professional and versatile musician. As a former pianist of the Edinburgh Youth Jazz Orchestra, Steve has played with the likes of Phil Bancroft, Tommy Smith, Colin Steele, John Burgess, Brian Shiels, former Shackatak guitarist Malcolm MacFarlane and Keith Haldane. In the last 25 years, Steve has played in many types of bands such as Big Band, Jazz Combos, Country, Blues, Jazz Funk, Soul, Pop, Ceilidh and Afro, doing live and studio work, and touring extensively over Scotland, England and Europe.

Presently, Steve spends his time working as a full time private music tutor and professional performer with tenor saxophonist Nick Gould of Jazz World and jazz funk band, The Sinceros. He also is a resident pianist for the Maria Speight Quintet.

Kevin Glasgow
The youngest half of the powerhouse rhythm section, Kevin's EIGHT string electric bass playing has to be seen to be believed. Describing him as 'nimble fingered' does not do him justice - a truly master craftsman of his instrument. Kevin is a keenly sought after bass player. A jazz maestro, who is at home playing folk, funk and almost every other style in between. Kevin has appeared at the Jazz Bar, Jools Holland's Jam House, and the Lot