Carol at St James Studio, February 2015
Carol Grimes, the 'Piaf' songstress of British music — this raw, in your face, sublime performer — takes you on a musical journey through her extraordinary life.
The Singer's Tale weaves its stories — sometimes shady, mad and bad — but with music and song at their heart.
“Carol Grimes has a fascinating story to tell. She also has a command of shaping and delivering words, a performance sense, and the musical and human depth and warmth to really make something of this. The story pulls in songs that reference times of her life. This project has such a strong heart, it really could go anywhere as it develops. Dorian Ford has no music, just her words in front of him. His ability to match mood or word with chord or line, to evoke the ghosts of songs past is a revelation too.” (review by Sebastian Scotney)
Like Geoffrey Chaucer’s pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales, Carol’s journey started in London. As a singer, she is the character Chaucer left out from his Tales. From her first gig, Carol has attracted enthusiastic followers who want to join her on her “pilgrimage”.
“He could songs make and well endite.” (from the prologue of The Canterbury Tales) — Chaucer didn’t write a Singer’s Tale, so here is mine.
Carol’s principal musician/performer in telling her tale is pianist Dorian Ford. Other first class musicians who regularly work with Carol are brought in along the road to add to the story wherever it lands: pubs, village halls, theatres, cafes, festivals – no place is too small or too large to embrace Carol Grimes and her Singer’s Tale.
9th and 26 February 2015. Doors open 7.15pm, show at 8pm.
St James Studio, 12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA. Nearest tube: Victoria.
Book on 0844 2642140 or at www.stjamestheatre.co.uk
Review in ‘Bebop Spoken Here’
Carol at Lauderdale House, 21st November 2013, London Jazz Festival
'If you want to get ahead get a hat and head for Lauderdale House'. The temperature doesn't just dive in Newcastle, North London also has its share of howling winds, and below zero temperatures.
Carol rapidly warmed the audience up with red hair flowing topped by a snazzy hat at a jaunty angle, her way of warning off winter's bugs.
- All Blues. Already the packed audience were anything but blue.
- Little Sister, with drummer Winston interjecting 'Call my Name', who wouldn't?
- 'Round Midnight. Carol chose Oscar Brown's lyric, ably philosophising (is there such a word)?… 'as one day gets spent we gain another'… through all this a speedy tempo, but was toned down for some poetry… 'the ghost of Thelonious Monk visits me'… and we are enveloped in a cha cha rhythm to conclude on a high. By this point the audience were agog!
- Scars, Fran Landesman lyric, Simon Wallace score. Again very profound lyric, but true to Carol's inimitable style, delivered with a twist. How does Annie manage to get her trombone to slide to a whispering finish?
- Innards. Only Carol could write a lyric naming parts of the anatomy, and Dorian perform such an alluring solo, punctuated by Annie 'growling'. (I was privileged to have a seat behind Dorian which allowed me to see the silent communication between the triangle of piano bass and drums.)
- The Dance, once again lyric by Carol, music Dorian. Carol said her inspiration came from paintings by Marc Chagall. This piece was a superb vehicle for solos from all the group. Hope Chagall was tuned into the multi-coloured ending to the first set. The audience clamouring to buy the current CD featuring pieces performed.
- Annie's Little Red Trombone. Carol was inspired to pen this when Annie arrived as a party guest bearing a red plastic(made in China) trombone. I couldn't stop giggling to listen to the lyrics but a lot of 'red' was mentioned… 'beetroot salad, red beans'… comedy switched to virtuosity with Winston pairing with Dorian on piano, and also scatting with Neville on bass.
- But I was Cool. An open invitation with a blues flavour to let it all hang out, Annie 'growled', possibly to draw a veil across some four letter words, Carol's voice soared to falsetto, a signal for musicians mayhem, ending as it began, being 'Cool'.
- Tree and Me. Change of mood, Carol introduced this as a favourite of her daughter's. Again, for me the lyric was profound, with the musicians offering a sound basis for Carol to then present herself in a totally different way, once more tongue in cheek.
- New Coat of Paint, Tom Waits. I suspect a very different version to the original. Opportunity for more 'growling' from Annie. (She does it like no other.) In a nutshell - Honky Tonk.
- Ship Building, Elvis Costello. Yet again thought provoking material, delivered in an upbeat way, turning the theme upside down; as they say 'that's Jazz'.
- Rags and Old Iron. I am certain that this Nina Simone classic was, as they say in the trade, a 'Big Finish', with all the signs of a mini Musical. It drew all the threads together, but left the audience hungry for more.
A stellar choice for the London Jazz Festival. I take my hat off to Brian Blane for selecting such a galaxy of stars. Definitely a case for Keeping Jazz Live.
Review in London Jazz News
by Brian Blain
Carol at Lauderdale House, 21st November 2013, London Jazz Festival
"Carol Grimes and her current, beautifully tight band - Dorian Ford (piano), Neville Malcolm (bass) Winston Clifford (drums) and Annie Whitehead (trombone) — put them all together and we had a feast of varied music and a totally sold out venue. Grimes is a true, charismatic artist, who can groove with her wonderful rhythm section, as on her old favourite Red Top, a King Pleasure version of a classic Gene Ammons solo on a Lionel Hampton blues, that had Clifford pushing to get in on the act with some brilliant scat, a briskish Round Midnight and the delightful opener All Blues, a Miles favourite with singers.
"But like many of the best contemporary singers she varied her programme with songs by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and others, including a touching Scars, by that fine songwriting team Fran Landesman and Simon Wallace. Annie Whitehead's trombone work really adds to the 'colour' of this band with beautiful plunger mute vocalisation,and a fine musical sense that made her counter lines and occasional pp endings to a song absolutely perfect.
"Allen Toussaint's joyfully upbeat ShooRah! Shoo-Rah! sent the audience home, faces wreathed in smiles and the band into a heartfelt team huddle, discreetly out of sight of the crowd, which spoke volumes about how much they all enjoy this collective music making. As Carol said 'This band likes to hug-a-lot.' Memorable stuff."
Carol Grimes & Dorian Ford at the Map Studio Café
Review by Sebastian Scotney. Published in London Jazz News.
See the original article here: www.londonjazznews.com
[...]On Saturday this series featured Carol Grimes, and it was a great pleasure to be in right at the very start of such a genuinely promising venture as her Autobiography, an item tucked into her programme of songs, which itself was tucked into a varied evening, of which I heard the first two acts.
The Autobiography is spoken rather than sung. With Dorian Ford on piano, her narrative flashes back and forth between her uncertain teenage years, when a fairytale future as a gamine rock icon was seemingly on offer, and now. This is a project to watch out for as it develops. (The concept is far from new. Schumann, as just one example, wrote spoken melodramas to words by Friedrich Hebbel.)
Grimes has a fascinating story to tell. She also has a command of shaping and delivering words, a performance sense, and the musical and human depth and warmth to really make something of this. The story pulls in songs which reference times of her life. This project has such a strong heart, it really could go anywhere as it develops. It could be a stage play, or radio drama, or album, or any combination of these. Dorian Ford has no music, just her words in front of him. His ability to match mood or word with chord or line, to evoke the ghosts of songs past, is a revelation too.
10 Years Louder
A benefit to celebrate 10 years of Sing for Joy with Carol Grimes, Dorian Ford, Annie Whitehead and special guests performing an eclectic mix of jazz, world, blues and improvised music. Compered by Pip Mayo.
Saturday 2nd November, doors open 7.00, music 7.30 - 10.00. Tickets (£25, concessions £18) include meze food.
Stoke Newington Town Hall, Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0JR. Buses 73, 393, 476. Stoke Newington Station (13 mins)
Michael Kemp on Carol's new album CDawn
Good things are always worth waiting for. A glass of good wine, a handwritten letter from an old friend, a new collection of live recordings by Carol Grimes. And this is what we have, now, with the long-awaited "CDawn" set – two discs of extended workouts and improvisations recorded live at small jazz clubs in London, such as The Vortex and the 606 club. A fine package, decorated with chiaroscuro and exotic photographs by Kasia Hrybowicz.
Proceedings kick off in fine form with Neville Malcolm's steady measured bass leading confidently into a vocal re-styling of Miles Davis' "All Blues" (from Davis' classic "Kind of Blue" album) with lyrics courtesy of Oscar Brown Jr. Pianist Dorian Ford tinkling ivory and throwing his best Bill Evans shapes into a masterful and chromatic solo, greeted with rounds of spontaneous applause by the audience – Carol Grimes' voice here beckoning as smooth as silk, as sensual as smoke…
Read the full article here.
Sing for Joy
Sing for Joy is a community choir for people with Parkinson's Disease and similar conditions, their friends and carers.
We are all sorts of ages, types and genders. All that we have in common is that we have an illness, or care for someone with an illness, and that singing with others makes us feel better.
To find our more about us, please click here.
Sing the Blues with Carol Grimes
Enjoy this exploration of blues vocal style and repertoire, including the challenge of writing and singing your own blues.
Click here for more information about Sing the Blues.
Garden Party for Sing For Joy Choir
A garden party and fund-raiser will be held for Sing For Joy Choir on Sunday 30th June. Food and drink and sunshine. If it rains, we shall move into the house!
For more information click here
All content Copyright © 2015 Carol Grimes.