EARL OKIN – THE SINGER / SONGWRITER
Earl Okin is one of the world’s finest songwriters…. and in a variety of genres from Pop/Rock to Jazz, from Bossa Nova to Ballads…. Hugely melodic and always based on musically satisfying chord sequences.
His more recent songs are often in the genre of such classic songwriters such as Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Antonio Carlos Jobim, George Gershwin etc. These are all among Earl’s heroes, though his first influence was he music of Puccini and Verdi, still major loves in Earl’s life.
Earl Okin was first signed to the same company as The Beatles, recording at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in 1967. At that time, his songs were also covered by Helen Shapiro, Cilla Black and Georgie Fame.
Earl was the only performer ever to open for Paul McCartney & Wings, which he did on the Wing’s tour of 1979.
Although his careers as comedian and Jazz concert artiste have taken up much of his time, Earl have never stopped writing songs and there are now several CDs available of his songs both old and new.
Mango & Other Delights.
Songs From A Garden Shed.
Indeed, Earl is working on a brand new collection of songs at this very moment!
Last but not least, Earl has recently written a full musical. Hopefully, this will be staged within 12 months or so.
EARL OKIN – THE JAZZ SINGER
Earl Okin is one of the world’s finest Jazz singers. In addition, he is probably the finest performer of Bossa Nova outside of Brazil. Though occasionally performing with a trio, he normally performs solo, accompanying himself at the guitar or piano as most appropriate for the song.
Last but not least, he’s renowned for his legendary ‘vocal trumpet’ solos.
Based in London, Earl has given concerts around the world in theatres, clubs and festivals, and regularly performs at London’s premier Jazz Club, Ronnie Scott’s and cabaret and concert venues such as Les Crazy Coqs and the Royal Albert Hall.
Over his career, he has worked alongside such legends as Adelaide Hall, Benny Carter, Stephane Grappelli, Barney Kessel and Dame Cleo Laine among others.
To sum him up – the perfect sophisticated Jazz vocal cabaret!
EARL OKIN – THE COMEDIAN
For years, Earl Okin has headlined under the byline ‘Musical Genius & Sex Symbol’ (also the name of his SONY CD).
He first learnt his stagecraft in folk clubs and when they were replaced by comedy clubs, Earl moved effortlessly from one to the other and has been a headline act on the unforgiving UK alternative comedy circuit for decades, highly respected by all his fellow performers, young and old.
He began, however, at the Comic Strip, alongside, Rik Mayall, French & Saunders, Nigel Planer et al. Among his admirers are such names as Billy Connolly (who likewise began his career in folk-clubs), Sacha Baron Cohen and Eddie Izzard (at whose clubs Earl headlined when they were both starting out).
Among his American admirers are such established names as Emo Philips and Rick Overton.
Earl has probably performed more ‘encores’ than just about anyone around and his blend of comedy and music (Tom Lehrer was one of his influences) is in demand literally around the world.
Earl has performed at such festivals as Juste Pour Rire in Montreal, the Adelaide Fringe in Australia and Humorologie in Belgium with equal success.
He regularly performs in Sweden, Germany, Austria and Holland… and at such famous US clubs as The Comedy Store, Caroline’s, The Improv. and The Ice House.
For 18 years straight, Earl performed at the internationally famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe,consistently coming away in profit… a major achievement, as any Edinburgh performer will agree!
Last but not least, Earl is in high demand for both corporate and private parties, having entertained not only Queen Elizabeth II but the king and queen of Sweden, too.
As with everything else he does, Earl Okin’s comedy is unique!
REVIEW – EDINBURGH FESTIVAL
The Festival is really under way. Earl Okin is back for his 11th consecutive year.
He is, if anything, funnier than ever, just as amazing on both guitar and piano, and his ‘trumpet’ style is still mind blowing. To a most appreciative audience he exercised his magic again.
Age does not matter for he appeals to all from 17 to senility. This year’s show is ‘Nothing To Do With Sex Whatsoever’ and if you believe that you’ll believe anything. For much of the time you think he’s only ad-libbing, but slowly realise that you are in the presence of a master of the art of cabaret. The man is unmissable as singer, songwriter, Jazz musician, comedian and, possibly my favourite this year, as a dance-track singer.
He’s a joy! He is classic! He is a must!
REVIEW – NORTH SEA JAZZ FESTIVAL
If you ever have an opportunity to organize a musical event, invite Earl Okin. It had been a long time since I witnessed an artist win a crowd’s favours in two minutes.
This happened last night at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague.
His music? You have to find this out for yourself. He sings (with a beautiful voice, perfect for the Brazilian/Jobim type of Bossa Nova songs he provides).
He plays guitar and piano. (He didn’t play piano at North Sea, but I have his Pitter Panther Patter and Blood Count on CD. Brilliant. Delivering the message, with good taste and ample technique).
A real treat is his ‘vocal trumpet’: he can make those fantastic sounds that helped make the Mills Brothers famous.
Earl’s inspiration here is clearly the early Ellington horns. He can do an astonishing Whetsol. But he also did a brief Cootie, Brown and Bigard.
Earl’s instrumental imitations are to my ears art – not just ‘funny’ or a novelty-type trick. They’re too good for that. It’s quality, for lack of a better word.
How to incorporate Ellington in your music and make it work?
Check out Earl. And yes, he does wear spats in public.
REVIEW – PIZZA EXPRESS, DEAN STREET, LONDON
I was struck at first by Okin’s ability to sing to every member of the audience – not with a fixed stare but with a knowing look – especially to the noisy table who had, it seemed, misinterpreted the ‘silence’ policy.
They soon quietened down.
He was wonderfully engaging. His Portuguese was faultless, and truly charming within the context of Bossa Nova.
And then there’s that vocal trumpet. It was every bit as good and as musical as I’d heard. In fact, it was better. I found this instrument to be as integral to Earl’s performance as his singing, or piano or guitar playing.
He has an extraordinary ability to sing a solo which really sounds like a trumpet, with accurate pitch and timbre, vibrato, even half-valve sounds, and a characterful attack and articulation. It was so appropriate to each particular style – whether it be a haunting ballad or swinging standard. At one point my guest turned to me and said, “He can play the trumpet better than I can!” And she’s a professional trumpeter.
Okin is a wonderful singer who sings effortlessly, with a captivating subtlety. If he’d been on for a second night I’d definitely have been queuing up to hear him again.