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Thank you Tina

Today marks a year since British jazz vocalist Tina May sadly passed away. On hearing of her death, I wanted to write a blog post of thanks about her – but it somehow didn’t feel the right time.

Last week, however, I was performing at the Wine Rooms, on the Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells and she popped into my thoughts again. A year on feels the time to say a few important words which want to be spoken. Tina often springs to mind when I sing September in the rain. And the location of the Pantiles also has its relevance. She won’t have known it, but Tina May was a significant reason I carried on in my pursuit of jazz…

I’ll take romance was released in 2003, so it must have been around then that I heard Tina sing with her band for the first time. Working as a student in my summer holidays, I’d love coming back to work on the Pantiles to save up for the next year’s studies. Jazz on the Pantiles is a longstanding Tunbridge Wells institution and, back when it was a free and a seated event where people could actively listen, I would take the opportunity to join the audience and be inspired when not working a bar shift.

Photo from the 606 Jazz Club, London website

Well, I’d never seen or heard a jazz singer like Tina. I sat in awe throughout and jumped up to buy a CD (remember those?) in the interval. I remember Tina’s warmth and gentle charm as she handed me I’ll take romance and, as I gushed at her that I hadn’t heard a soprano voice sing jazz before, she replied with such lovely encouragement – that she was also classically trained and that I could still find my way into jazz as a soprano. Well, that CD is now sadly tucked away somewhere “safe”, but the message she wrote on inlay has remained with me ever since:

“Dear Jenny, Keep on singing! love Tina”.

Tina May
On the Tunbridge Wells Pantiles bandstand

Well Tina, I have. September in the rain is regularly featured in my set, dedicated to you (and also recorded on Café Society’s EP Café Espresso) . I have so much gratitude for the time you took to encourage a young woman finding her voice, during your break. 20 years on, here’s a little bit more of your legacy – along with all the fabulous music you made. I hope your family and colleagues somehow get to read this. Rest well.

Love Jenny x

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Clare Narramore
Clare Narramore
12:11 09 Jan 24
Jenny played at a 70th birthday celebration in Tunbridge Wells and it was delightful. It set a perfect background atmosphere to the evening.Jenny was easy to communicate with, getting back to me very quickly, and her fees were very reasonable for her time. Thankyou!
Steven Peterson
Steven Peterson
15:18 25 May 23
Jennifer was a special part of our magical day. She was extremely patient with me changing my mind and switching music choices close to the wedding date and was very helpful and reassuring. Multiple guests told us how they really enjoyed listening to her play the violin with one moved to tears by a particular song played (A Thousand Years). It sounds very magical on the wedding clips and Jenny is just the loveliest person to have at your special day. I highly recommend Jenny for all your music needs.
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marketing wfhythe
09:19 11 May 23
Jennifer enhances our customer's dining experience with her dulcet tones. We are privileged to have her as one of our resident performers in the restaurant; she has a beautiful voice!
Mary Chandler
Mary Chandler
07:55 31 May 22
Jennifer played the violin and sang at our wedding and was absolutely brilliant. We received so many compliments from our guests on her stunning voice and lovely playing, and to top it off she's a really friendly and accommodating person. Thanks again, Jenny, for making our day extra special x
Susanna Busi Jacobsohn
Susanna Busi Jacobsohn
12:02 22 Aug 21
Jennifer was a perfect choice when we were planning for our event at our Vineyard Busi Jacobsohn. We had a pre-war car party with picnic and Jennifer was singing jazz songs which we all loved, and perfect match to the day. We would not hesitate to engage her again. Susanna Busi Jacobsohn
Vicki Thompson
Vicki Thompson
09:57 02 Jun 21
Jennifer has the most delightful personality and smile. Gracious and most off beautifully talented. Her voice is outstanding and her talent on the violin admirable. Jennifer dated to the personality of our group and dinner party. Mixing some traditional Italian themed violin and adding some jazz style singing. We al danced and sang with her. It made our Birthday dinner party absolutely perfect.
Luisa Santos-Stephens
Luisa Santos-Stephens
14:56 20 Nov 19
Jennifer is an incredible singer. We had her with Cafe Society to play at my 40th and it was everything I could dream off- they played beautiful music, and brought a very good vibe to the party. All the guests talked about how great they were, with a repertoire of very nice songs which we loved to listen to, but at the same time allowing us to keep the conversation going. I can’t recommend her enough.
Lisa Purcell
Lisa Purcell
19:34 03 Sep 19
Jenny sang beautifully at our wedding in August 2019! She moved many members of the congregation to tears with her amazing singing. We absolutely loved it and would highly recommend her. Each time we meet up with friends and family that were there, they all comment on how amazing her singing was and how much they enjoyed it! She sang a Maori love song perfectly - commented the relatives from New Zealand! X
Rachel McGuckin
Rachel McGuckin
16:06 27 Jun 19
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Kate McNamara
Kate McNamara
14:36 12 Jun 19
Jenny was amazing from the moment I enquired about her playing the violin at our wedding ceremony. So quick to respond, helpful, friendly, flexible & professional, and was able to recommend songs and even learnt a new song for the exit music.I was so confident that she had everything under control which was invaluable and it was something on the day that I knew I just didn’t have to worry about.Jenny is so talented and it really added to the ceremony, I am so pleased that I found her! Thank you so so much!
Aimee Curry
Aimee Curry
13:56 15 Feb 19
We highly recommend Jenny! She played amazing violin music beautifully at our wedding. Jenny was so lovely and was so approachable and helpful to plan our ceremony music which was a highlight of the day and also the drinks reception music.
T Whyte
T Whyte
19:17 30 Jan 19
Jenny sang at our wedding - her music set the tone and made for a truly special experience. She has a beautiful voice, is very easy to work with, and worked seamlessly with our (very exacting) venue to get everything just right. Thank you Jenny!
ZARA JONES
ZARA JONES
17:39 07 Aug 18
Absolutely beautiful! Jenny played at my wedding ceremony last week and it was stunning! She has a huge variety of songs to choose from and our guests loved them all! She was professional and came early to set up. We could not have wished for more. Added a lovely touch to our day!
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