Carol returns to the Vortex with Dorian Ford (piano), Winston Clifford (drums), Alison Rayner (bass) and Annie Whitehead (trombone).
Stellar reviews abound of Carol’s autobiographical song book which she brings back to us, different each time, with her wonderful accompanists.
The Singer’s Tale is by turns charming, funny and a little sad without looking for pity. Grimes is a trouper, a survivor and with Dorian Ford’s splendid piano accompaniment and occasional added harmonica, she variously defies and takes encouragement from a sizable cast of alliteratively named alter egos – Betty Bluesbelter, Procrastinating Patsy et al – to follow her dreams and get through some nightmares. The triumphs are underplayed – she’s happy being a non-celebrity – the laughs are genuine, and the voice really should have be-come better known.Review from the Edinburgh Fringe.
Date: 5th November 2016, 8pm.
Venue: Vortex Jazz Club, 11 Gillett Square, London, N16 8AZ.
“To those whose lives Grimes’s singing has touched, she’s one of the UK’s great underappreciated talents and at seventy-one, she hasn’t lost the power to enthral with a blues or a jazz standard.” – Herald Scotland
“Carol Grimes’ voice… [is] as smooth as silk, as sensual as smoke“- Michael Kemp
“Carol slips easily from blues to jazz and from soul to straight ahead rock. While employing a musical vocabulary drawn from a wide range of American styles, the difference between the two is also highlighted by Carol’s quintessential Britishness. Carol imbues her material, particularly her self-penned lyrics, with humour as well as gritty realism.” – Review of The Vortex
“Carol Grimes, the forthright and defiantly independent jazz, blues, and world-music singer still emits the same fierce glow that has been her trademark since her R&B beginnings 30 years ago.” – The Guardian
“a national treasure… if you had to label Carol Grimes you might call her a jazz singer (she is backed by terrific jazz players like saxophonist Elton Dean and trumpeter Harry Beckett) but her repertoire is so eclectic that it hardly seems meaningful to try and pigeonhole her at all.” – Blues in Britain
Parkinsons Creative Collective (PCC) is a small group of people with Parkinson disease (PD) who met on the internet and created: The NeuroWriters’ Guide to the Peripatetic Pursuit of Parkinson Disease, an anthology of experiences of life with PD.
Who should read it? Anyone who touches the world of PD.
Why “peripatetic?” The word comes from ancient Greece. It describes a school of teaching while walking around. There were few straight lines and many questions in those discussions, and few straight answers and many questions in the world of Parkinson disease.
Carol Grimes has been singing and performing across venues in London for over 50 years. From the moment she heard Ella Fitzgerald singing Every Time We Say Goodbye, Grimes had wanted to be a singer. Later, hearing the great British blues singer-guitarist Jo Ann Kelly and Julie Driscoll, who was in the front line of Steampacket with Rod Stewart and John Baldry at the time, inspired Grimes further. And before too long she got to follow their example by selling out London venues including the Marquee, Klook’s Kleek and the 100 Club.
In the last few years, she has been working with the pianist Dorian Ford, doing live work and composing, and her band has now grown to an octet. The band has been exploring different sound territories, from more reflective and fragile to big band stomp, jazz, blues and roots, as well as new compositions. One of Carol’s ongoing projects is The Singer’s Tale, based on her own life story and described as “a show with a difference” and an “invaluable document”.
Line up: Winston Clifford (drums/percussion), Dorian Ford (keyboard) and Alison Rayner (double bass).
Date: 29th September 2016, 7-10pm.
Venue: Book and Kitchen, 31 All Saints Road, Notting Hill W11 1HE.
Tickets: £10 in advance, £15 at the door. (Advance sales end at 5pm on the day of the event.)
Large slices of British jazz history are disappearing. The music itself is documented, but the accounts of how it was made and the world for which it was performed are fading because they exist only in the frailest of formats – memory. So when an event like Carol Grimes’ The Singer’s Tale comes along, it forms an invaluable document.
For anyone who lived through the period from the early 60s on the London jazz scene, it will recall events, venues and people long gone, but which form ldquo;names to conjure with”, summoning up memories and recreating events and feelings with a that power goes way beyond nostalgia into reliving. For anyone who didn’t live through it, here is an account of the life of a talented but uneducated woman and mother who did not fit easily into musical categories. Documents on women in British Jazz and Rock – and of their treatment by the almost exclusively male scenes where they were often treated as props rather than musicians – are rare, and this sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious look at life is probably unique.
Carol Grimes, the “Edith Piaf” of British music, is singing about her extraordinary life in The Singer’s Tale at St James Theatre’s studio next Monday evening.
Part dramatisation of her life story, part jazz gig, she’s singing with her collaborator/pianist Dorian Ford, fabulous trombonist Annie Whitehead, bass player “Level-Neville” Malcolm and leading drummer Winston Clifford.
In the prologue to his Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote: He could sing songs make and well endite.
“Well, Chaucer didn‘t get round to recounting a Singer‘s Tale – so here‘s mine,” she says.
Songs, stories and anecdotes in her Singer‘s Tale take the audience through her life from street busker to Ronnie Scott‘s; from Notting Hill to Nashville; from Memphis to San Francisco; and from Hackney to Texas and Eastern Europe.
Accompanying musicians are brought in as the Grimes journey moves from place to place, be it pubs, village halls, theatres, cafés, festivals.
No place has been too small or too large to accommodate Carol Grimes, often bedecked with most striking hair-dos. Although her singing journey has been international, she’s always returned to London. And it’s in London where she’s been such a terrific influence on the lives of numerous putative jazz singers through her City Lit classes.
Now she’s still making a positive influence on the lives of people with Parkinson’s Disease, motor-neurone and other disabilities through her Sing for Joy groups in Kentish Town and Holborn.
Carol Grimes was one of the very first performers to appear at St James Studio (preview from 2012). In this new interview with Sebastian, she talked about the first outings of her new autobiographical project “The Singer’s Tale,” for which she will return to St James Studio with performances on Feb 9th and 26th 2015.
LondonJazz News: What does the show consist of?
Carol Grimes: Songs, little beat poetry, it’s a tale interlaced with songs, a lot of them written by Dorian Ford and myself. It’s in two halves with an interval. Maggie Ford is directing. Neville Malcolm is on bass, Winston Clifford drums, Annie Whitehead trombone and Dorian Ford piano.
LJN: And the title?
CG: I nicked it from Chaucer – he never wrote a tale about a singer, but he travelled through South East London, knew it, trod the same paths I trod.
For the second year running, Women Of The World comes to a close with a night of uproarious music featuring female artists (full line up to be announced) alongside the Quarterhouse Women’s Choir. The Quarterhouse Women’s Choir, led by Carol Grimes, started at WOW 2015 and focuses on the work of female song writers.
Saturday 12th March 2016, Folkestone Quarterhouse.
Carol Grimes might not include I Could Write a Book in her Edinburgh Fringe show, The Singer’s Tale. The London-born survivor of fifty years in the music business would, however, have every right to sing this Rodgers and Hart standard. Indeed, she is currently writing her autobiography after being given encouragement by a literary agent who subsequently disappeared.
“Typical,” says Grimes with a throaty laugh. “My timing has always been abysmal when it comes to business matters, and I know I’m not alone in this regard among musicians. I just like to sing. And write – I’ve been really enjoying getting the story down.”