Jazzwomen cut loose under a full moon

Vortex, London

Jack Massarik, Thursday, 21 November 2002, Evening Standard
Vortex Foundation Big Band

EVERY jazz festival has its fringe, and where better than the Vortex, London's cosiest neighbourhood club, to hear it. Add a touch of pathos (a show sponsored by the save-our-club fund) and liberation (an all-woman big band) and you have a fringe event with tassels on. It's not often one finds a band exchanging air-kisses with ringsiders before the opening number, but it was all business after that. Crisply played originals like Pigeon Post. Three Views of aSecret and News To Me were rich in melody and short on bombast, a feature of the band, with confident solos by guitarist Deirdre Cartwright, pianist Andrea Vicari and bandleading trombonist Annie Whitehead.

"There's 11 of us, but I thought a good name would be The Dirty Dozen," quipped Whitehead before allowing the Vortex's favourite singer, Carol Grimes, to make up the numbers with a romping Never Say Never, powered by the drum 'n' bass team of Josefina Cupido and Alison Rayner.

This was more like it: 11 jazzwomen cutting loose and a full moon waxing outside. Trumpeter Kay Charlton and tenorist Anjéle Veltmeijer had good solo moments later though Anjéle appeared uncomfortable when double-timing, which is just as it ought to be.