The Singers Tale – Big Band



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1.SHOWTIME 08:24
2.NEW DAY 06:35
4.NOW THE HOUR 07:39
5.NEWS TO ME 05:16


As part of the London Jazz Festival in 2002, the Vortex Foundation Big Band’s first gig at the Vortex Jazz Club in London’s Stoke Newington was a sell out. The inspiration for this all-female big band (featuring Annie Whitehead, Carol Grimes and Deirdre Cartwright amongst others) came from the Vortex’s driving force of over 20 years, David Mossman, whose enthusiasm had overcome all obstacles to make The Vortex a successful and integral part of London’s music scene. This album was recorded live at the band’s first gig, when nobody was sure of the club’s future. It has fortunately now found new premises in Dalston but still needs to raise funds to aid its transfer. This CD is intended as both a fundraising project for this worthy cause but also as a tribute to the unforgettable atmosphere of the Vortex in its original home, which provided nearly 3 generations of jazz musicians a platform to publicly develop their art.


released June 21, 2004

Annie Whitehead: trombone and MD
Gail Brand: trombone
Issie Barratt: baritone sax
Diane McLoughlin: alto & soprano saxes
Barbara Snow: trumpet and flugelhorn
Deirdre Cartwright: electric guitar
Andrea Vicari: piano and keyboards
Alison Rayner: double bass and electric guitar
Josephina Cupido: drums and percussion
Carol Grimes: vocals

Vortex Foundation Band
Annie Whitehead’s big band of women musicians put in a stellar performance at the Vortex as part of the London Jazz Festival. By turns rambunctious, subtle, humorous, and always earnest, the band coalesced in a remarkably organic manner. Embracing lyricism, contemporary jazz forms, and Latin rhythms, their compositions enabled the band to explore the lighter emotional textures of the music within a very female circle of mutual respect.  The seven-strong brass section produced driving blasts but also fractured naturally, allowing each player her own space. Angèle Veltmeijer’s tenor sax solos were received joyously. Annie Whitehead, elegant as always on the trombone, provided a contrast with her fellow trombonist Gail Brand’s more intense and edgier style. Whilst maintaining focus, the rhythm section was relaxed and collaborative – Andrea Vicari pre-eminent on piano, Josephina Cupido an engagingly supportive drummer, and Alison Rayner reliably groovy on bass.  Carol Grimes came on stage to sing and to make the band twelve. Elfin-like in appearance, she could have shattered glass bricks at a distance. It’s hard to account for such grace and volume emerging from so small a frame. Gently raunchy with her opening number, then later mischievous with the encore Little Red Top, hers is a miracle of charm and vocal control. Another class act came from the wonderful guitarist Deirdre Cartwright who with Got my Modem Working showed how she can set the groove for everyone on the planet.  Launched by the Vortex Jazz Foundation in order to save the club, Annie Whitehead’s band is the Vortex Foundation Band. If their contribution is anything to go by, the long-term artistic future of the enterprise is guaranteed. A 12 piece jazz collective with innovative new music and the inspirational vocals of Carol Grimes.
Featuring Andrea Vicari,
Diane McLoughlin
Angele Veltmeijer  
Vortex Foundation Band Website

Jazz in the Feminine Genre

Women In Jazz

Jazz is not entirely male genre dominant – (so get used to it lads) – here are some of the gentler sex who are on par with those ebullient, macho guys who think that Jazz is a Bitch and girls are just useful for the cabaret chanteuse circuit and occasional substitute for their regular piano man.   Some 92% of UK jazz instrumentalists are blokes, according to Jazz Services’ database but things are changing guys and one day you may not be awarded that jazz score!

Chard Festival’s aim has always been to promote music written by women and to redress the gender balance in music.  This point is subtle in the website and teachers can, of course, decide for themselves whether or not to make a point of this when introducing the new music to their students, but it is hoped that through the database young musicians and their teachers alike will learn more about the all too often unseen contribution that women are making to the world of music.
The database holds a wide range of pieces, from solo works to band pieces,
and to suit all abilities.  The works are listed according to grade and instruments so that teachers or students can select music to suit their own needs. Chard Festival Website

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