Here’s what we’ve found so far… London Jazz Festival Review


“Britain’s answer to Kurt Elling... he delivers a mature and often exhilarating set that puts him in the front rank of this country’s performers... Roberts has technique, to be sure, but he is soulful too... Roberts’s phrasing is immaculate.” Clive Davis, The Sunday Times.


“Way above the hordes of average Sinatra wannabes out there, Roberts is cut from similar cloth to Kurt Elling and Mark Murphy. Possessing an effortlessly hip delivery and an easy- going charm, his superb band add funky bite to his cool bark!” Mike Flynn, TIMEOUT.


“A Beautiful Gold-Star Vocal Gift! Mark Murphy.

“A rich voice and inspired arrangements make Michael a real contender for the crown of the UK’s leading male jazz vocalist!” Andy Roberts, BBC Radio Wales.

“One of the few young jazz musicians I’ve seen who is not just immensely talented, but also has integrity. Such performers can be counted on the fingers of a mitten!” Victor Lewis-Smith.


“Jazz singer – Michael L. Roberts – has an honest, rich and distinctive sound. A gifted writer and singer of vocalese, he delves deep into the meaning of the lyrics, displaying a maturity beyond his years.” Anita Wardell. review – London Jazz Festival performance 2011:

The Forge is located along a dark alley tucked away in the heart of Camden. You enter a restaurant and start to doubt the directions but then you are ushered to the back, which opens up to a private amphitheatre. This scene couldn’t stay more true to the portrayal of an authentic jazz venue – niche, artistic and hidden; the ninth day of the London Jazz Festival is set to welcome talented jazz vocalist Michael L. Roberts and his equally talented band members – guitarist Chris Montague, bass player Mark Rose and drummer Chris Nickolls, playing tracks from their latest album Moving Is Living.

Artful jazz singer and narrator Michael L. Roberts starts the performance with a slow and soulful ballad, with little help from music, showcasing enviable pitch control over his rich voice. The number picks up the tempo and bursts into a rhythmic foot-tapping number reminiscent of old-school jazz. From rhythm and blues to chill-out, the variety of the performance reflected the group’s comfort and vast knowledge in diverse jazz compositions.

Doubling up as a comedian, Michael L. Roberts introduced his band members and the history of their friendship which added a personal touch; he also shared memories of skipping college and what it was like to perform during a fire alarm. One of the performances included Michael’s lyric to the song ‘Chameleon’ which was written by American jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. He also sang Billie Holiday’s ‘I’m A Fool To Want You’, adding originality by including his own altered lyric. Hoagy Carmichael’s  ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ was also performed, before which Michael narrated the tragic timeline of the author Jane Brown Thompson. He made special mention of Mark Murphy, who had a huge influence on his music. Bass player Mark Rose got to showcase his talent on a swinging duo performance of ‘Mr Gentle and Mr Cool’. The night took a particularly interesting turn when Michael and guitarist Chris Montague performed an intimate version of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’.

The entire evening resonated with compelling vocals, mature lyrics and soulful music, which is perhaps what earned the album a gleaming four star review from The Sunday Times.

Nirja Raju

Cosmic Jazz Radio Interview & airplay, 2011

The Best Of… feature, 2011

LondonJazz: Interview with Anita Wardell, 2010