ISQ are Irene Serra on vocals and Richard Sadler on double bass. With Chris Nickolls on drums and Naadia Sheriff on piano, this quartet takes the conventional jazz line-up as a mere starting point. Their second studio album “Too” was a Time Out London Critics Choice in 2015 and has seen them firmly establish a reputation as an emerging force in both creativity and performance. Their latest release “Requiem For The Faithful” marked their first ever UK tour in 2019 with 16 dates across the country. The highly anticipated upcoming album “Requiem For The Faithful 2.0: The Remixes”, a compilation of remixed songs released on the original LP, is due to be released on 21st May 2021.
Irene was a 4 year old Italian girl living in Denmark when her dad had brought her big sister the “Madonna” cassette tape back from one of his (then) distant travels to Japan. She would sneak into her sisters room and play the cassette tape over and over again until she had memorised all the lyrics and made up questionable dance moves to the songs so that she could perform them in full glory in front of the family hamsters,Coco and Chanel. A few months after, she proudly announced to her mother that she was going to be a “singer” when she grew up. It was at that precise moment that the seed for ISQ was officially planted.
...AND The Inspirations...
Just as her love for Madonna was waning (but never for too long!) her family forgot her in front of the tv one fateful winter evening where she discovered the dulcet tones of Judy Garland and “The Wizard Of Oz”. A lifelong love of Jazz and red sparkly shoes ensued.
After much experimentation with various instruments growing up including the recorder, a brief and misguided stint on the violin and the piano (she was mostly diligent because of the delicious salty liquorice the teacher would give her at the end of each class), Irene decided to study singing when she moved back to Milan as a teenager. Fascinated by her mom’s love of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Mina and other classic Italian singers she heard playing on her mom’s radio in the kitchen, she was hooked on the Great American Songbook.
Deciding to take another geographical leap and follow that yellow brick road, Irene moved to London to study music and, after A LOT of practise and repertoire learning, she was soon warbling on the London Jazz scene where she met the rest of the ISQ crew. It was at one of those gigs that she met Richard, soon-to-be double bass player and co-founder of ISQ. Although he was playing Baritone Sax on that gig, Irene never held it against him.
Chris Nickolls, an incredibly versatile jazz drummer and electronic music aficionado, was recruited shortly afterwards, having played with both Richard and Irene in a variety of bands on the London music scene over the years. Irene met Naadia Sheriff, ISQ’s newest member, at one of the first gigs she ever played in London. It was terribly paid and the food was pretty awful (it was a Jazz gig after all!) but Naadia’s terrific piano playing and cutting sense of humour immediately won her a spot on the ISQ piano chair. And the rest is ISQ history.
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