Bass player Shivraj Singh was born and raised in Smethwick. He started playing at school encouraged by a teacher and at 13 or 14 joined the Jazzlines ensemble where he met Xhosa Cole. He studied garde at night school and later joined the Junior Conservatoire followed by studying at the Birmingham Royal Conservatoire. Since graduating he has been establishing himself as a musician including leading his own band and playing as a sideman.

Picture: Shiv putting is bass away after the recording session for his band for this project.

“Jazzlines …Percy [Pursglove] introduced me to a lot of music. He kind of introduced me to bass players, he was like, ‘you got to listen to bass players. Go listen to Ray Brown, Wilbur Ware, go listen to the all those guys. Oscar Peterson.’ …He gave me the prescription I just went and listened to whatever he said really. But yeah, that’s when I heard Oscar Peterson Night Train. These kind of albums. These are the kind of starting points really for me.”

BH: Another example of the different portraits you can get that illustrate the working life of musicians when you are able to shoot before and after performances.

Picture: Shiv doing is online admin job at home.

“Yeah, [I was doing an admin job] just similar to this this job. Similar thing really just needed something after I came out of college quite quickly. And then I was doing the gigs. I was doing a lot more gigs, obviously. So, it was a lot easier. But now it’s just this kind of full time. At the moment from home. All computer based. In my dining room. It’s quite strange. I didn’t think I would be here. But it’s good…yeah, it’s tricky. You don’t really have that community, I guess, that work community, when you’re not in the office.”

BH: Shot during lockdown so because of the restrictions I shot through Shiv’s dining room window to illustrate him doing his admin job. The glass reduces thequlaity but has the benefit of reflections to give a sense of place.

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Chris Young
Xhosa Cole
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