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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. He 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. Simultaneously, while playing with some of the greats, Drees has had the opportunity to perform on some of the world's most iconic stages such as The Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican, Ronnie Scott’s and numerous international Jazz Festivals like Canada's own Montreux Jazz Festival.

Drees' work is highly influenced by her love for tap dance which began as a little girl. Mesmerised by Fred Astaire and the Nicholas Brothers, Drees developed a deep love and appreciation for rhythm and this encouraged her to pursue percussion.

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

Thirty years on Michèle has come full circle and has returned to her first love: she created her Jazz Tap Project. Drees aims to express the visceral musical connection between these two incredible art forms.

In 2013, Drees 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 returned to the EFG London Jazz Festival in 2014 and, as a project, they supported major artists like Jon Hendricks and Bobbi Humphrey and were delighted to be invited to perform at the Chorando-sem-Parar Festival in Brazil.

Today, Michèle Drees is composing musical works that fully integrate Tap Dance into music that allows The Dancer to become 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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