Take Five With Helen Abbey

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Meet Helen Abbey:

Helen Abbey graduated from the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama with a Diploma in Performing Arts. She started her singing career with The Swing Sisters, an a capella group performing on the alternative cabaret scene, and The Seafood Mamas, a close harmony group with a regular slot at The Ritz Hotel, in New York City.

These days Helen has two albums under her belt; Simply Me and Second Time Around, available on CDBaby to buy, listen to or download. She also sings with the Locarno Big Band.



Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Ian Shaw, Trudy Kerr, Claire Martin, Sheila Jordan.

Influences: Ella Fitzgerald, Carly Simon, Al Jarreau.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... As a child I used to sing into my hairbrush by my open bedroom window hoping to be discovered (I lived in a really quite cul-de-sac, so not much chance of that!).

Your sound and approach to music: I like to sing great songs really well. I make sense of the lyrics for myself so that I can deliver them with passion and meaning and truth.

Your dream band:

My dream band would consist of top players who listen well, support each other and me musically, and leave their egos at the door. It matters to me that I can get along with the people I work with.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: I often invite requests and have had amongst others:

Something by Madonna;

Something by AC/DC;

Somebody's missing the point by a mile!

Favorite venue:

Outside a bar in the square of the medieval town of Jesi, central Italy, on a hot summer evening. A beautiful setting, a really appreciative audience, and a happy bar-owner who wanted us to carry on late into the night for as much Prosecco as we could drink. Ah, happy days (or should I say nights).

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Carly Simon, Hotcakes. Fabulous songs, lyrics, singing. I sometimes think I would like to cover every track on it.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Julie Is Her Name, by Julie London.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? Emotion.

Did you know...

I have an act as a human jukebox called Jukebox Jenny!

CDs you are listening to now:

Nina Simone, Nina;

Al Jarreau, All I Got;

Claire Martin, Too Darn Hot;

Amy Winehouse, Back To Black.

Desert Island picks:

Isley Brothers, Highways Of My Life;

Rolling Stones, Waiting On A Friend;

Amy Winehouse, Back To Black;

Al Jarreau, Groovin' High;

Ella Fitzgerald, Bewitched.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? It's a very crowded marketplace.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? I haven't figured that one out yet!

What is in the near future? My new album, Second Time Around, is now available so I will be gigging as much as possible to get it out there. I'm planning the third album already. What I looking for is a manager/agent to hustle on my behalf, arrange tours etc and move my career up a level.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Can't think of anything else I'd rather be (except wealthier, of course!).

Post a comment


Shop Amazon


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.