The free program for the 50th annual Montreux Jazz Festival was released publicly today — so we can now reveal that a long-time Shure user, UK singer/songwriter Chris Read, is amongst the performers appearing during the festival. Together with his backing band (the aptly named Chris Read Quartet), Chris will be playing tracks from his recently released debut album, If I Knew, as well as “jazz standards with some modern twists” as he puts it, during two separate performances on the Music In The Park stage on July 13th and 14th. “I can’t wait,” he explains over the phone from a noisy London venue whilst preparing for a gig. “Montreux is one of those places you always hear about as a musician… the thought that I’m getting to perform there this year is just unbelievable to me.”
Chris attended the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, south-west of London, studying on the Performance Vocal course for two years while honing his songwriting and performance skills, and is now a full-time musician. He initially chose to study at ACM on the grounds that his friend was studying there and was always getting gigs! In his own words, “I want a piece of that!”
He performs with the Quartet in a jazz style but also composes many other types of vocal and instrumental music for theatre pieces and for his solo performances, ranging from chamber music to hip-hop. You can hear some of his music on his website www.chrisreadmusic.com.
Chris began songwriting aged thirteen, bought his first Shure mic the same year, and has been singing into them ever since. “Actually, I’ve still got that first mic, the SM58 I bought when I was 13,” he laughs. “That mic is indestructible. It’s been everywhere with me; I’ve even busked with it on the London Underground. It’s totally beaten up and battered, but it’s still going!” Chris has recently started using the new Shure KSM8 dual-diaphragm mic for his live vocals (“brilliant”, he comments) and will be bringing it with him for his performances at Montreux. We’ll bring you more on Chris’s performances during the Festival… but for now, check out this video interview we did with him in London a couple of weeks ago.