Leeds solo star's sax appeal

The sax solo from Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street is so well known you would have to be brave to cover it.

But sultry sax player and former Leeds lass Laura Fowles is not one to be easily intimidated and a new version of the famous track is the first single from her new album on Robin Millar's Nujaz label.

It's one of three cover versions on an album of otherwise original work by the talented 36-year-old who's looking forward to stints on regional radio and TV ahead of a formal launch on music website itunes and Amazon on February 20.

But, if it wasn't for impresario Millar - the man behind acts such as Sade, Everything But The Girl and Fine Young Cannibals - Baker Street wouldn't be there at all.

"It was Robin who suggested a track everyone would know for the album so I tried one take of Baker Street with pianist Wayne Pollock," said Laura, who studied music in Leeds in the late '90s and ended up staying in the city for almost a decade.

"When we listened back to it we thought it sounded pretty good so we played it to Robin and he loved it.

"All this happened before Gerry Rafferty's death and we never intended it as a tribute but, now, I hope people will see it as honouring the original song and I'd hope Gerry would have liked what we've done."

Laura describes the style as a fusion of jazz and blues - reflecting her musical career, which has taken her from jazz clubs across Yorkshire and the north, through partnerships with Dolce and Gabbana to regular appearances at venues like the Ministry of Sound, Hed Candi and on the Mediterranean party island of Ibiza.

"One reason the album took so long was that I was constantly on the road and I never had the time to finish it properly," said Laura.

"But I think now is the right time in my career to produce something that lasts and I'm really excited about how it's gone so far."

* To buy the track, visit www.laurafowles.com/lovelylaurabakerstreet

The Grand Theatre, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme.

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