Vocalist Jenny Green has been active in the South Coast jazz scene for a few years now. She took time out to talk to SJM about all of her activities, including her latest album Caught a Touch of Your Love.
How did you first get into singing?
“From a very young age in my church choir at Shoreham; then, when I was just 14, I was encouraged by a teacher to sing at the end of term concert.”
“I was quite shy as a child and singing was a way to express my feelings. By the time I was 18 I was singing semi-professionally in various bands around the bars and clubs along the South Coast. My first ever gig was at The Cliftonville Pub in Hove. I was very into my pop stuff and hadn't heard of jazz until I sang in a dinner dance band in the Eighties. The saxophonist tried to encourage me to scat but I wasn’t interested at the time. I wished I’d listen to him then! All those standards in the Eighties I’m still singing now in function bands!”
Tell us a bit about your radio show on Ridge Radio.
“Ridge Radio is an internet community radio station from Caterham in Surrey that you can listen to anywhere in the world on your Android, iPhone, iPads or computer. We are all volunteers at the station but for me it’s really important to do something in the community. I share my love of jazz by playing tracks from the different genres, e.g. funky, classic vocals to the traditional and big band swing.”
“The show is on Monday evenings from 9 till 11 pm. I include a gig guide and I feature new albums and often feature special guests who sometimes play live in the studio. Recent guests have been Nigel Price, Rebecca Hollweg & Sarah Maurice.”
“I have a co-host, Susie Homes, that helps with social media and email requests and she also adds a bit of glamour by having a chat about what’s new in the celebrity world.”
“We have a lot of fun and hopefully our listeners will too. There is a listen again feature. Try us by clicking here.”
Tell us about the monthly gigs that you do in the Sussex & Surrey area.
“I’m very keen to encourage new talent so I run a jazz jam with Liz Cole at the Leatherhead Theatre, upstairs in the Mezz bar every fourth Friday. Its been running for around 5 years or more now. It has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and it’s free at the moment. I have a house band for this and we have a nice mix of audience and players, most of them are regulars.”
“My other regular venue is at The Chequer Mead Theatre in The Pavilion Cafe, East Grinstead. This is a monthly jazz club on the second Wednesday. The next one, on April 15th, will be my tribute to Billy Holiday, to celebrate the centenary year of her birth on 7th April. As with all theatres there are times when they are very busy and sometimes the dates have to change to accommodate. Therefore its best to check the website for future dates.”
“I’m gradually building the audience here and already we are getting some regulars in. We have had some lovely guests including Nigel Price and One Jump Ahead, and we even had a fab 18 piece jazz orchestra.”
You released your album Caught a Touch of Your Love last year. What has the experience of recording and releasing an album taught you?
“How costly it all is for a start! I think I learnt not to rush into settling on the songs. I learnt a lot from watching how they master and mixed it and I can understand how important it is to get the whole thing mixed and mastered really well. I think the album reflects this. A lot of work went into the licence and registering with PRS etc. So doing a second one should be easier.”
“I realise now that making an album is not the be-all and end-all, it’s the performing that matters most. The album is a calling card I guess really. I wanted the album to reflect how far I’d come from my humble beginnings standing on that stage at just 14.”
“I had great fun recording it with Sean Hargreaves who helped me decide on the songs. Winston Clifford for his wise words and great rhythm and Neville Malcolm on bass boy when then those guys get together it really swings.”
“To sum up, I loved the whole experience from choosing the songs, to getting into the studio, particularly at Tileyard Studios. It was such a great place – a real creative media hub at the north end of London’s Kings Cross. The cafe there was a who’s who in the industry.”
What are planning to do in the future?
“Well, who knows? That’s the great thing about the music business. Will I make another album? Possibly. I’d like to write a couple of my own songs. I have the offer to record one or two songs from other writers, which is exciting.”
“East Grinstead have given me the exciting opportunity to host a live jazz stage at East Court Live on Sunday 26th July. I’ll be performing with The Jonathan Vinten trio and we have some fantastic guests lined up. Check the website for details: http://www.eastcourtlive.co.uk/. I’d love to do more of organising and managing events like this.”
“I’d like to see the jazz club at Chequer Mead Theatre grow so that I can bring some great live jazz acts.”
“I’m working on ‘The Great British Song Book’ ready for my gig at the Pizza Express on Dean Street, during Sunday lunchtime on 5th July. I’m very much looking forward to working on this with Sean Hargreaves again on piano with Neville Malcolm, Winston Clifford and with Ed Jones on sax.”
“I’m hoping maybe one day I’d join the BBC to broadcast a jazz show and I’d love to sing downstairs at Ronnie Scott’s. Singing and performing is a calling for me and as long as people like listening I’ll keep doing it.”
“I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Jenny Green appears at Chequer Mead Theatre on Wednesday 15th April.
You can hear Jenny every Monday evening on Ridge Radio.
For more information on Jenny Green visit her website: