Carol at Lauderdale House, London Jazz Festival
by Sebastian Taylor, 5th February 2015
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.