Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to return to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, to work with their incredibly talented M.A. in Musical Theatre group. I do adore returning to this amazing place, being submerged back into a college of music, constantly alive and buzzing with sound or practice, performance and general musical hubbub, it is a truly magical place to work.
But whilst being in the homeland, I also managed to make a trip to Swansea Jazz Club to see one of my mentors/idols from my Jazz years perform. Tina May has, I believe, one of the most incredibly flexible and emotive voices around. She effortlessly scat sings across all areas of the voice, imitating and mimicking instrument sounds, and all with faultless pitch and exciting rhythmic phrasing. And she is one of the most genuinely lovely people that I have had the absolute pleasure of working with.
On arrival at the club she gave me the warmest of welcomes but uttered the spine chillingly terrifying phrase, “you will sing with me won’t you?”….. Now younger me was in her element, I mean, one of my inspirations to sing asking me to sing with her….. :D….. but now me thinks, “I haven’t sung a full jazz gig for a few years now and scat singing has never been my most comfortable means of performing” a.k.a. no way! So I politely declined and brushed it off… until mid way through the first set, Tina happily announced to that there would be a special guest performance in the second set. Argh! So I spend the first part of her amazing second set, partially enjoying her performance, and that of the incredibly house band, the Dave Cottle Trio, and partially panicking in an attempt to recall the lyrics for the song we chose in the interval.
Long story short, I sucked up my fear and did it. And, amazingly, nobody stoned me or burned me for ruining jazz and some of the jazz club patrons seemed to really like it (although I could feel the tentative inhalations from them as Tina passed me the mic) … so all in all a great night.
Do something everyday that pushes you out of your comfort zone, you never know where it might lead 😉
And here it is, a small clip of, “Autumn Leaves” with Tina May and the Dave Cottle Trio at Swansea Jazzland, January 2018. (The French is all her!)