November 17, 2015

Winter EP – Snow Falls

Hi all

The winter winds have arrived and it’s getting to that time of year where I could eat my weight in chocolate! Every year around this time, as they grey descends, I start thinking how we really would be better off if we hibernated. Then again, who wants to miss out on the build-up to Christmas? Like most people though, I really only enjoy the build up so maybe we could hibernate after opening the presents and wake up again along with the hedgehogs? 😉

But what would Christmas be without some winter music? Ah ha, well, funny that should be mentioned because I’ve just recorded an EP of winter music in London with some wonderful jazz musicians. The very same line-up from my album ‘My New Jive’, Tim Richards (piano), Dominic Howles (bass) and Jeff Lardner (drums). The mixing has now been done and mastering is set for next week so will be available w/c 30 November.

The EP will only be released digitally but the door’s been left open for maybe a whole album of winter/spring music next year. So, if you know other people who are into vocal jazz and ensemble playing and like some chilled laid back music from some stellar musicians, how about buying them a download of the EP? I’m also getting some artwork done which could be used as a Christmas card so you could print that off and add the code for the download. Christmas present sorted! The website’s currently being updated so you’ll be able to link to the purchasing site directly from here. Come back next week and check it out.

That’s it for now. Keep warm and try not to eat too much of the carbs. There’ll be a huge price to pay come January otherwise when you might find yourself having to go pound some pavements with me! 😉


PS: If you want to hear more details about what’s going on or just want to make sure you’re not missing out. Why not sign up to the newsletter? Easy to do, it’s on the right hand side of this page.

October 26, 2015

The Real Hipster – Jazz Vocalist Mark Murphy (14 March 1932 – 22 October 2015)

Another celestial jazz light has gone out.

I was saddened when I heard that jazz vocalist Mark Murphy had died on Friday 22 October.  He was an incredibly unique voice in jazz, who never veered from the course he set for himself.  Always learning, absorbing and pushing.  He was one of the hardest singers for musicians to play with because there were no limits.  He allowed the music to flow freely through him and taken him and everyone else wherever it might go.  A real risk taker, a true improviser and a real jazz musician.  He never sung a song the same way twice.

I count myself as blessed, having been a student of his on a jazz summer school.  Having heard recordings of his some years before, I couldn’t miss the opportunity of learning from this icon.  His recording had had a profound affect on me, in a way that not many jazz singers have.  He opened my ears to the possibilities of making music with your voice, to being a part of the band, not limited to just singing the melody line and the written lyric but feeling and being the music.

I count myself as blessed, having been a student of his on a jazz summer school.  ‘Hipsters’ are a real thing now but they should really take a look and a listen to Mark Murphy who was the real thing.  Mr Cool.  I can remember him so well, his jazz speak, his dress (flamboyant), him wandering around with the largest bar of cadbury’s milk chocolate you can possibly imagine, breaking off squares whilst delivering pointers on performance.  I remember him too, telling me that female jazz singers had to wear high heels!  Tell that to Carol Kidd!  That was a surprise to hear.  But his connection with the music and his rootedness in himself was inspiring.  To be so free and to just be, that’s what we strive for and he had it.

Watching him and listening to him perform and to see how the top musicians playing with him were pushed to be their very best was incredible.  The absolute focus they had to have to keep up with this virtuoso, was quite something.  Boy did they work up a sweat!  For a singer, it was an amazing lesson.  He had total and absolute control of everything that was and would happen on stage.

Thankfully having had a long career of more than 50 years, which included more than 40 albums, he’s left us with a lasting testimony to his unique contribution to this wonderful music we all love.

He doesn’t have the ‘name’ recognition that many of his contemporaries have but that’s because he didn’t seek commercial fame.  That’s a shame.  Hopefully if you’ve not listened to him before, you’ll take that opportunity now.  Here’s a little something to get you started, one of his most popular recordings ‘Stolen Moments’ for which he penned lyrics to Oliver Nelson’s music.

Mark Murphy – Stolen Moments

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October 2, 2015

October News

It’s October already, how’d that happen?!

I’ve been reminded that I’ve not posed any updates on here since Spring.  I’m bad, I know, very bad.  However, I have been trying to keep my Facebook page and Twitter up-to-date and there are only so many hours, particularly when you want to spend your time making music!

This is just a brief holding statement just to let you know that I’ve been spending less time gigging lately and more time on writing and preparing for several projects underway at the moment.  First up an EP of winter songs which will be recorded next month with Tim Richards, Dominic Howles and Jeff Lardner.  The fantastic musicians I worked with on my album ‘My New Jive’.  We’ll then be back in the studio early next year to record another album together.  So, watch this space.  Some info on the third project will go on here next month.  A little teaser for you though – this one’s going to take me in a bit of a new direction and working with some other extremely talented musicians who I’ve not worked with before.

Exciting times!

So, in the meantime, I will commit to keeping this up to date, at least once a month.  I promise.  I know I’ve probably said this before but I mean it this time.  I do.  I really mean it. 😉


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April 15, 2015

Spring has Sprung

Isn’t this the best time of year?!  So many great songs written about Spring too, one of my favourites is Joy Spring “Isn’t Spring your favourite season, watching the flowers blooming up out of the ground … it’s got me feeling so glad, the day’s are breezy, you’ve got the time to say hello and give a smile”.  A classic be bop tune written by Clifford Brown.  Hope the season is making you smile and your sharing them.

So, excellent gigs at the recent Aberdeen Jazz Festival to a sold-out wonderful audience.  There’s no feeling like it when you feel really connected to your audience and you’re all in it together.

I’ve also had a really special experience hosting a house concert in my new home for the wonderful violinist Jyotsna Srikanth.  This is my first time doing this and what a great way to enjoy music and socialise.  I can’t recommend enough to anyone who might like the idea of bringing together your friends and/or community and provide an opportunity for local or visiting musicians to perform.  In some ways, I think this may be a better way of bringing music to an audience so will be looking into performing at house concerts myself.  Get in touch if you think you might be interested.

Next gig: this Friday 17th April sees me back at Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh in their cocktail bar/bistro on the 4th floor, from 7-10pm.  Look forward to seeing some new and some familiar faces there.

Cindy :-)

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March 6, 2015

March Update

Hi all

Eek, how bad am I.  Almost a year since I’ve made a posting!

I shan’t reflect on the highs of last year. It’s good to look back a little but far better to look forward.  I will say that I’m looking forward to doing more performances this year of the Lady Day and The Pres show, which was really well received at last year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival.  Next performance is going to be at the Aberdeen Jazz Festival later this month with the wonderful saxophonist and 2013’s Scottish Jazz Award winner for Best Instrumentalist, Konrad Wiszniewski.

Another new show which has been in development and will be debuted at the same Jazz Festival in Aberdeen is the Jazz for Little Kids and Very Big Kids.  This show is all about getting young kids into live music and, of course, jazz.  We’ve got to keep developing our audience and you can’t start too early!  The show’s going to be full of tunes from the kids movies, such as Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Cars, 101 Dalmatians, etc and I’m hoping the kids are going to get involved and maybe their parents, grandparents too.  I’ve suggested to the guys that I’d like them to dress up for the show  but I’m either going to have to use a very big carrot or an event bigger stick.  Ha ha.  Anyway, I’m really looking forward to this, it’s going to be great fun.

I’ve also had a bit of a revamp on the website and have a new page where I can start sharing lyrics and poetry that I’m writing.  Would be lovely to have some feedback but please be kind.  It’s funny but although I’m a performer, I feel more naked sharing my writing than I do getting on stage!

Please also sign up for the newsletter where I provide more info on what I’m up to, other jazz happenings, who I’m listening to, offers, etc.

Thanks for checking in and enjoy every minute of every day whatever you’re doing.

Cindy x

May 30, 2014

Spring Update

Spring has sprung.  The house martins are flitting around the house & nesting in the eaves.  It’s a busy time for them and for me!

I’ve been busy working on several projects.  First up, Eat to the Beat – the Pop Up Jazz Supper Club.  The launch event at Auchenblae saw the hall transformed into a fantastic cosmopolitan jazz club for the night.  Everyone had such a great time and all ended up on the dance floor by the end of the night, which is not something that happens at jazz gigs very often!  I’m hoping for more of that at our events in Banchory and Birnam next month.  The Banchory event is at the Banchory River Festival and takes place in the Guide Hut, another transformation to perform and no, it won’t be us transformed into girl guides, no matter how hilarious it would be to see the guys in the band dressed up like that!

Second project is my tribute to ‘Lady Day and The Pres’, which will be debuting at this year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival.  I have the wonderful saxophonist and 2013 Scottish Jazz Award winner Konrad Wiszniewski performing with me.  Further dates are being worked for other festivals this year and next so keep an eye on the gig calendar!  Check out Konrad here:

Third project was debuted at a special event at Aberdeen Art Gallery earlier this month to coincide with their exhibition on the First World War.  This cataclysmic period devastated Europe and it’s people but led to so many huge social and cultural shifts, one of which was the jazz age.  The American soldiers who fought, introduced jazz to Europe through their military bands attached to the all-black regiments.  The most famous of these being James Reese Europe.  Music from the period and from the years following are featured with, of course, some reference to styles of the time and of today.  It’s been really interesting researching this period.

There are lots of other gigs happening too, so please make sure to check the gig listings and try and get along to something.  If you can bring dancing shoes too, all the better!

Hope this finds you busy but not so busy that you’re not having fun.  After all, what’s it all about if we’re not having fun?!

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October 23, 2013

Eat to the Beat

Hi there

Tickets are now available to purchase online for the first two ‘Eat to the Beat’ events from Eventbrite (  I’m also trying to organise for local sales of tickets so watch out for updates on that.

Event management is not something I imagined myself getting into but here I am.  I’m learning as I go along and finding that there’s a lot more to it than I’d first thought.  I guess that says something about my nature.  I am rather impatient.  I also know that if I think too much about it and the challenges to be faced, that on balance, I’d decide not to do it!

Saying that, I’m looking forward to it and really pleased with the enthusiasm it’s being met with, with press and radio picking it up and more importantly, from people who are keen to come.

It’s a big risk taking on something like this but the climate for live music, and in particular jazz, is not great and I feel that the onus is more and more on the artist to create their own opportunities for playing and to try and find an audience who are interested in what they have to offer.  Plus, I also feel that we have to work harder to build an audience for jazz.  For some reason many people have a bad impression of what the music is.

So, that’s why I’ve decided on getting into the promoters seat and taking this out into more rural communities.  Hopefully by offering more of an ‘experience’, a night out with food an entertainment, candlelight, etc, people who might not generally come out for jazz, will be more persuaded to.

Of course, as I said, I’m taking a risk.  However, whether it works or not, it’s going to be another opportunity to learn new things!

I’m always keen to hear what people think so please drop me a line if you’d like to share your thoughts.

Best wishes


PS:  Please check on what’s coming up by clicking on ‘Shows’.


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October 9, 2013

Hi all

Been a busy few weeks finalising my exciting new venture ‘Eat to the Beat’.

Please check ‘Press’ on the menu above for more information.

Dates for the first two in Auchenblae and Oyne are listed in the ‘Shows’ section.

These first 2 dates are pilots, after which the hope is to take it further afield.  I’m on the look out for interesting venues/buildings in areas where maybe jazz is not happening very often, if at all.  Of course, communities that get out for events is also very important!  I’m also looking for chefs in different areas to partner with to bring great food alongside, of course, the excellent music.  Please drop me a line if you’d like to suggest places in your community.  If you’re a chef interested in getting involved, then please also email me.

More dates soon.


September 2, 2013

Summer’s Over

Sadly, summer holidays are over but it wasn’t really a holiday anyway!  In between keeping my daughter entertained(?!) whilst off school, there were still gigs and other music related things to be done.

Finished my St Andrews course and have my Certificate in Jazz, now tucked away in a drawer.  It was good fun to do and it did what I hoped it would, ie gave me a better grounding in music theory, jazz theory and keyboard skills.  The latter I really have to work at and practice, something else to fit into a busy day.

Sadly, Stonehaven Town Hall Trust decided they couldn’t continue with their monthly Jazz Cafe, due to lack of funds.  A big loss when the whole region has very little jazz going on.  Also, a loss for myself as it was a great regular gig to have but things can never stay the same and when one door closes, another opens … Can’t say much about that at the moment as it’s still in early stages, wouldn’t want to jinx it!

It was nice to be asked to perform at this year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival which I did with the wonderful pianist Alan Benzie.  I did have this filmed and now have a short promo video on Youtube  There should be some more video being posted soon.

I’ve also had some fun doing Jazz workshops for primary age children.  It’s amazing just how easy they find improvising.  Once we become adults, we become so self-conscious and hyper critical that being relaxed and giving ourselves up to the music can be a terrifying prospect.  Once you get over that though, it’s such a wonderful feeling, soaring through the music!

Busy also with writing lots of lyrics.  Several new vocalese pieces are now in the repertoire (Ahmad Jamal’s ‘Night Mist Blues’, Monk’s ‘Bemsha Swing’ and Ron Carter’s ‘Little Waltz’).  I’ve a large number of lyrics too which I need to get music written.  So am now working on finding a musical collaborator.  The objective being a new album.  I hoped this would be finished by the end of this year but, although I like stretch targets, I think getting it done early next year would be an achievement.

Of course, there’s gigging and working on getting more gigs too.  To that end, I’m looking into the house concert idea so if anyone might be interested in that, then please get in touch!

Hope all have enjoyed the wonderful summer and that you’re lives are busy with fun, challenges and those things your passionate about!


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April 22, 2013

Spring is Here

Hi All

I’m sitting looking out the window and the sun is shining, yeah!  I had a great break in Canada and New York over Easter and was so fortunate to see the legendary pianist Randy Weston who has been an inspiration of mine.  Incredibly, he is now 87 and still has boundless energy and enthusiasm.  Proving what I’ve always maintained that music keeps you young.  That’s what I’m hoping anyway!

Now it’s back to work and reprioritising the very long list of things to do.  I’ve got so many different projects I want to do but there’s nowhere near enough time so my first to do is getting the home recording set-up organised and then, hopefully very soon, I’ll be sharing some recordings done with friends and guests.  Should be fun!

My other to do, is to keep the website more up to date so will be posting updates and links to things I’m interested in at the moment which you too might find interesting.  Please e-mail me if there’s anything you’d like me to share!  (keep it clean and polite though, pls!)

Best wishes


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