Roger Cairns | A Scot in L.A.

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United States - California - LA

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Easy Listening: Crooners/Vocals Moods: Solo Male Artist
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A Scot in L.A.

by Roger Cairns

With a smile in his voice and displaying an adventurous spirit, Scottish vocalist Roger Cairns, gives an enlightened take, with exciting new contemporary arrangements, to items spanning areas of swing, latin, funk and ballads crossing the spectrum...
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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1. We've Got A World That Swings
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2:13 $0.99
2. Never Let Me Go
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4:15 $0.99
3. That Sunday That Summer
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3:51 $0.99
4. I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life
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6:03 $0.99
5. Lonely Town
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3:31 $0.99
6. Look At Her
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5:05 $0.99
7. Things Are Looking Up
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3:34 $0.99
8. The Colours Have Run
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6:43 $0.99
9. Flamingo
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4:02 $0.99
10. Why Did I Choose You
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5:44 $0.99
11. You're A Lady
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7:12 $0.99
12. You Better Go Now
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3:31 $0.99
13. Good Night And Joy Be Wi' Ye A'
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2:20 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Roger Cairns started singing at a very early age and
hasn’t stopped since. He sang at his aunt’s wedding
when he was three years old. He sang in the church
choir. Every year, he sang at the local residents
association Christmas party. He sang at school and was
12 when he was awarded the Robert Burns Prize for
excellence in the singing of Scottish songs. That’s
what Roger knew, that’s what he loved, and that’s what
he decided he was going to do when he turned 9: he was
going to become a singer.

Flash forward 50 years and Roger is in Los Angeles,
California, singing with a 20-piece jazz orchestra.
His musical path out of the Scottish projects was
circuitous, to say the least; it took him from crawling over English rooftops installing television antennas to delivering refreshments to the Beatles; from taking helicopter trips to North Sea oilrigs to organizing outdoor stunt spectaculars in Saudi Arabia; from impromptu visits by
the KGB to the birth of his three children. And yet,
though life frequently got in the way and Roger had to
put his musical career on hold several times over the
years, never did any of his experiences feed his soul
the way music did and nothing ever replaced his love
of singing.

Roger was born in the small coal mining village of
Gilmerton, a suburb of Edinburgh, in 1946. Not
surprisingly, Roger’s talent and his penchant for
music were neither nurtured nor welcomed by his family
in a post-war Britain more concerned with survival
than entertainment. So when he was 15 years old, Roger
was sent off to complete a five-year mining
engineering apprenticeship with the National Coal
Board.

But eighteen months later, tired of being underground,
Roger emerged from the bowels of the Scottish mines
and headed for London to pursue his dream. He was 17.
Within a couple of years, Roger found himself touring
Germany with London-based Rare Amber and releasing a
blues album on the Polydor label. Then came Rubber
Duck, a nine-piece jazz-rock ensemble which caught the
ear of Bee Gees manager Dick Ashby and earned Roger
backstage congratulations from Jimi Hendrix.

The group Listen, led by Essex-based composer Paul
Abrahams, followed, and won a national rock contest in
1972. With Listen, Roger sang on BBC TV’s flagship Old
Grey Whistle Test, performed live on Britain’s chief
radio station, Radio One, and landed on the front page
of the then best-selling music paper, Melody Maker.
Listen also performed at the Queen Alexandria Hall in
Kensington on the occasion of Prime Minister Tony
Blair’s nineteenth birthday.

More success followed as Roger secured an EMI
recording contract, enjoyed radio airplay across the
dial in the UK, and garnered widespread coverage in
national and regional dailies. He fronted Roger
Berteau & the Radiomen, released a couple of singles
on the Hollywood label under the stage name John
Laine, and landed an interview and performance on BBC
TV’s nationwide Breakfast Time morning program. He was
also a guest on Richard Baker’s celebrated Start the
Week Radio 4 program.

Who is this man? A blues singer? A jazz singer? John
Laine?

If there’s one thing people who know Roger will agree
on, it is that he is a chameleon. He can move
seamlessly between styles and genres, between blues,
jazz, ballads and swing, between musical eras, like
the show tunes of the 30s and 40s, through the lush
ballads of the 50s and early 60s, to the revived
rhythm & blues of the 60s and the fusions of the 70s.

After all, Roger’s musical influences are motley,
ranging from Ray Charles to Mel Torme, David
Clayton-Thomas to Johnny Hartman, Steve Winwood to Vic
Damone. And yet, although it’s tempting to suggest
that Roger’s inimitable sound is a reflection of the
kaleidoscope of music that emerged during his
formative years, Roger’s unique singing style simply
cannot be pinned down. As composer Paul Abrahams
states, Roger has integrated the “disparate strands
[of the masters] into something that is distinctly his
own.”

It’s not surprising if you consider that, as a
teenager, Roger was fascinated with the science of
singing—the phrasing and vocal technique of one
artist, the voice production of another. He was
beguiled with the capacity of certain song stylists to
convey emotion so purely, with such subtle discipline
in their vocal technique, that they were more moving
to behold than any rock star throwing himself about
the stage. He was a student of music itself, immersing
himself in all its breadth and depth. He was soaking
it in, literally communing with sound. As a result,
when Roger performs, he doesn’t just sing, he feels.

And today, it’s jazz that Roger is feeling. In 1992,
he auditioned with the LA-based Dirk Fisher Big Band,
he signed on, and has performed with the band ever
since. But that’s not all. Though the sheer
exhilaration of fronting a big band performing swing
continues to gratify Roger immensely, he could not
resist the draw of leading a small group. With the
enthusiastic support of his new wife, Chitra and the
unstinting help of his hugely talented arranger/pianist/composer and fellow jazz lover Gary
Fukushima, Roger established his new five-piece Roger
Cairns Combo. The less structured setting of a quintet
accommodates improvisation so Roger now enjoys the
freedom to weave in and around material which is as
eclectic as Roger’s past. The resulting sound has the
sense of deja vu but yet feels fresh and original, while at the same time is familiar, comfortable and welcoming without
being tired or jaded.


Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh
March 2006


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