Tina May (voc) Robin Aspland (p) Simon Thorpe (b) Winston Clifford (d)
Tina is generally considered to be one of the finest jazz vocalists the U.K. has ever produced, and has been recognized for her vocal art on more than one occasion. She was selected as Number One Vocalist and the Critic’s Choice at the 1998 BT Jazz Awards and was voted Critic’s Number One choice for the 1995 British Jazz Vocalist Award. She also was the recipient of London’s Outstanding Young Musician Award in 1993. Given that Britain harbours many fine jazz vocalists, being recognized as one of the best is no small achievement.
Influenced at an early age by her collection of Ellington and Fats Waller records, she has emerged as a singer who is at ease with both the traditional pop and standards from the Great American Songbook, as represented by these two geniuses, as well as with songs produced by contemporary composers. Tina started exploring and developing her jazz sensibilities at University College, Cardiff.
During the early ’80s, Tina headed her own Back Door Theatre Company, producing such shows as Lady Chatterley’s Lover. In the late ’80s, she moved on to establish herself in Paris, where she met up with some aspiring young music students, who invited her to ‘faire un boeuf’ – have a jam with them.These musicians were Pascal Gaubert and Patrick Villanueva – who recorded with Tina on the ‘live in Paris’ album nearly twenty years later! Very soon Tina was performing at Le Slow Club as a chanteuse at various clubs in the City of Light.
It was then that she pretty much concentrated on a jazz career, forming her first quartet in 1989. She has a very abundant recording career, releasing seven albums under the U.K. record label 33Jazz. She has been featured soloist at important jazz events and venues including the Duke Ellington Mass, at Ronnie Scott’s, and at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club in Paris. Tina has appeared frequently on BBC radio and TV either as guest performer or as a leader of her own group.
As a classically trained pianist, Tina has formed and leads a number of small groups over the year, including a trio and her Paris Quintet. An accomplished lyricist adding words to bop standards such as Cannonball Adderley’s “Havin’ Fun,” she also produces original jazz material. She has a dusky soprano with a three-octave range which she employs with flexibility and imagination to interpret both traditional standards and newer material. Tina has appeared several times at Swanage, to great acclaim.