The KoGo Project
The KoGo Project was founded in the summer of 2014, inspired by a yearning to create honest, original jazz-funk music and perform it live. Kate Ockenden had always had a passion for this genre, which was ready for a good unearthing.
Husband Geoff Ockenden had always loved a good funky bass line, having laid them down with various artists over a 20-year performance career. So together, over strong coffee and naughty chocolate biscuits, they decided to hit the go button.
The KoGo's first tune was inspired by 71-years-young Pete Parkinson, a saxophonist whose daughter was married on the summer solstice of 2014. Kate and Geoff played on stage alongside Pete at the evening wedding celebrations, and after this fun-packed gig he suggested that Kate, Geoff and himself should do more playing together, before it's too late. His words echoed around Kate's mind as they drove home that night: "We should just do it".
"Give and Take"
This tune shifted up a gear in terms of energy and intricacy, and was inspired by the totally positive mindset you need when following your dreams. Renowned jazz guitarist Lee Jones was asked to join the KoGo team for this tune, where twisty-turny harmony and general musical feistiness has been likened to the sound of Dirty Loops and Al Jarreau amongst others. It has also received high praise from UK Jazz-Funk veteran Bill Sharpe of Shakatak, Dirty Loops Keyboard/Vocalist Jonah Nilsson, and Michael McDonald's guitarist Bernie Chiaravalle.
This tune pulls on the heart strings more than any other. It's a tribute to Kate's late father, and has many musical and emotional twists and turns. The song shifts a gear part way through, where the visuals change from black and white to colour - and it features KoGo's very own little superstars, Lucinda (7) and Thomas (4). Liquid time signatures, different instrumental textures and a strong groove from bass and drums all contribute to its distinctive vibe. "A Rainbow" has been heard by the legendary blue-eyed soul artist Michael McDonald, who has described it as a 'beautiful song, beautiful arrangement, beautifully performed".
More original material by The KoGo Project can be found on their debut album, 'Do It', which can be purchased here.
Kate is a successful TV and film composer, regularly working for clients including BBC2, CBBC, CBeebies and Sky TV. She has written copious amounts of production music for EMI, and scored several independent feature films and documentaries. She also tours with BGT finalist Julian Smith as his keyboard/vocalist.
When she's not in the studio or on stage, Kate shares her passion for music production, composition and performance at Worcester and Wolverhampton Universities.
An in-demand session bassist for over 20 years, Geoff delivers a reliable, creative groove with a killer tone for the job, whether playing walking lines as the in-house bassist for Ronnie Scotts, laying down parts for BBC recordings or rocking out on the festival circuit. Geoff's groove has underpinned shows with artists including BGT finalist Julian Smith, Nigel Kennedy, The Average White Band, The Real Thing, Womack and Womack, and Ruby Turner. His production credits include BBC, Sky, SMN and UPL Films.
Funky, dynamic and powerful on the kit - a true gentleman, fun and friendly off the kit. Julian has been a good friend of Ko and Go for a long time. The fun-loving, positive vibe that is created when Kate, Geoff and Julian play onstage is something that is enjoyed wholeheartedly by themselves and audiences alike. Julian has toured internationally with Olly Murs, Lemar, Beverly Knight, Mica Paris, James is, Sugar Babes, Raliegh Ritchie, Blue, Peter Andre, Jocelyn Brown and Julian Smith.
Chris 'Beebe' Aldridge
Beebe is regarded as one of the UK and Europe's finest saxophonists and possesses a wide ranging technique which ranges from beat boxing while playing flute, to playing two saxophones at the same time. His versatile vocal skills vary from bouncy raps to lush harmonies and hard-edged punk snarls.
Beebe's wide-ranging abilities have taken him on tours with US3, Geno Washington, Jaki Graham as well as appearances with UK, American and Asian jazz icons such as Gerard Presencer, John Dankworth, Victor Mendoza and Surinder Sandhu.
In addition to having airplay on Jazz FM and the Paul Jones blues show, one of Beebe's saxophone solos was included in the Montreux Jazz Festival compilation CD in 1999.
Lee Jones is a UK guitarist and composer. He has performed throughout the national jazz scene in recent years and appeared as a special guest with guitarist Martin Taylor at the Pizza Express. London. Lee completed the BMus jazz (Hons) course at Birmingham Conservatoire in 2007; studying with Partisans’ guitarist Phil Robson.
He has released three solo albums, “Swish” (2007),“Songs from the 13th Hour” (2011) and "After the Pier" (2015) with former WEA producer Simon Tittley; featuring on Jazz FM's 'Discovery Show'. Lee has recorded alongside Larry Coryell, Jean Toussaint, Dennis Rollins and Chris Dagley amongst others.
Lee is currently teaching guitar and undertaking a PhD in jazz composition at the University of Salford, Manchester.
Lee is a long standing user of Ibanez semi-solid archtop guitars.
Pete is an amazing, energetic saxophonist - and being in his early seventies is not slowing him down one bit. His tone is akin to David Sanborn, he's 100% committed to playing and has a long, proven track record of gigging on the UK circuit.
The music videos have been filmed by the aforementioned Pete Parkinson's daughter Miche and son-in-law Tom Middleton, who run the highly successful SMN Film. Their passion to 'capture the moment' in the most creative and stylish way possible has undoubtedly had a significant impact on The KoGo Project's warm reception, from music fans and professionals alike.