How it all began....
Back in 1990 some guy tried to chat
me up in a pub in Alverstoke, Gosport.
I told him that I sang jazz and I gave
him my card with my number, not
because I thought he was cute, but
because he said his dad played jazz
piano... I never heard a thing!
Then 6 months later this guys dad,
Vince Wharton, who happened to live
at the end of my road, contacted me
and I went along to audition. From
then on I spent 3 -4 days a week
learning jazz tune after jazz tune, words
and more words, transposed keys and
varied arrangements... I loved every
minute of it.
I started to play Vicky's Wine Bar in Gosport, the Swordfish Restaurant and the Anglessey Hotel. Wow, that takes me back. I even sang at the Gosport Jazz Club which used to meet at the Football Club and I loved to chat to the legendary Nat Gonella. Then, in March 1991 we organised a show at the Fernham Hall in Fareham and packed it with 300 jazz fans on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. The article above was featured in the Portsmouth Evening News publicising
I moved from Gosport in 1995 up to Guildford but I continued singing with the musicians and bands that I'd been working with around the south coast. I joined the Maryland Jazz Band and The George Regis Jazz Band and guested with Otis B Driftwood and the Stane St Jazzmen. Then in 2002 I joined Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra which coincided with a move back to Hampshire.
I have gigged at the 100 Club in
London, the Palm Court Restaurant at
the Waldorf Hotel, the Goodwood
Revival and the Upton Upon Severn
Jazz Festival (where the whole band
got their feet covered in mud ...
that's another story...!)
But my favourite was the Breda Jazz
Festival in Belgium, that was
extraordinary. An old vaudville style
theatre with a 2 tiered stage and a gallery all full of jazz fans wanting their jazz fix. The Jiving Lindy Hoppers were also featured with us and their dance numbers really got the audience fired up to enjoy the evening.
My singing has taken me to many places and has introduced me to many
people. At Steyning Jazz Club a few years ago, an old lady came to
compliment the band. She shook my hand and said that I was shaking a hand
of a person who'd shook the hand of Thomas "Fats" Waller in the 1930's.
Well there's a thing! I will never cease to be amazed by what Jazz means to
Singing Jazz is something I really enjoy and I hope to continue well
into the future.