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Michele Drees and Junior Laniyan by Adrian WeinbrechtBack Story 

London based Michèle Drees is an established drummer, Latin percussionist, vocalist, guitarist and composer and has been active on the Music scene for more than 30 years. During this time Michèle has played with top Artists across a wide variety of genres including Marc Almond, Kirsty MacColl, Badmarsh and Shri, Ive Mendes, KD Lang, Susanne Vega, Candy Dulfer, Ian Shaw, Claire Martin, and Jean Toussaint to name but a few. Performing on many of the great stages, Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican, Ronnie Scott’s and numerous Jazz Festivals throughout the world including Montreux.

Michèle's love for tap dance began as a little girl. Mesmerised watching Fred Astaire and the Nicholas Brothers, she has said that it was this influence that sparked her deep love and appreciation for rhythm and the main reason she chose to play the drum kit.

Moving to London in the early 1980's she took up tap dancing and drumming at the same time. Since 2009 Michèle Drees' trio has been the rhythmic bedrock of the London Tap Jam at Ronnie Scott's. This has over the years cemented her understanding of how to support rhythm tappers.

Thirty years on, Michèle has come full circle, returning to her first love; she has created her Jazz Tap Project. The vision behind it is to express the visceral musical connection between these two incredible art forms.

In 2013, Michèle was invited by Serious to create a “Jazz Tap Spectacular” and perform it at the EFG London Jazz festival. In addition, she was commissioned to compose one of twenty one pieces of music in celebration of the Festival’s 21st birthday. The Michèle Drees Jazz Tap Project is returning to the EFG London Jazz Festival in 2014.

The Michèle Drees Jazz Tap Project has supported major Artists including Jon Hendricks and Bobbi Humphrey and was invited to perform at the wonderful Chorando-sem-Parar Festival in Brazil which was a huge success.

Michèle is today composing musical works that fully integrate Tap Dance into the music. The Tap Dancer is an integral part of the band….

"Rhythm Tap and Drumming are the things that set my soul on fire...they are from the same family.

Using Rhythm as my starting point, I incorporate tap as a percussion instrument in my compositions. This deep-rooted connection between drums and tap is the area I am pushing and exploring through this project.

Tap is visual Jazz. It is improvisation and melodic phrases but created visually, which is incredibly thrilling for our audiences.

I believe this is a unique and innovative project. Audience reaction to our work has been astounding and this has reinforced the importance to me of what I am trying to create…”

Michèle also has a deep love for everything Brazilian and runs a band for over 20 years called Sonhos do Brasil in which she also sings in Portuguese and plays guitar, and this is now being incorporated into her Jazz Tap Project, utilising the many diverse rhythms of Latin America.

The Michèle Drees Jazz Tap Project is eight wonderful artists, four musicians and four tap dancers. She has invited some of the worlds greatest Tap Masters to dance alongside Britain’s finest Rhythm tapper, Junior Laniyan, namely Andrew Nemr, Michelle Dorrance, Heather Cornell, Lee How, and Lisa La Touche and hopes to invite others from the wonderful tap community around the world.

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