Carol Jarvis is an extraordinary woman on more levels than one.
As a freelance trombonist, her ability to traverse wide-ranging
musical styles is such that she is as likely to be seen playing
with the London Symphony Orchestra as she is with Sting, Seal
or Michael Bolton, all artists with whom she has appeared on
tour as well as in the recording studio.
As a human being however, her story is perhaps even more remarkable.
In 2004, whilst still in her mid-20s, she was diagnosed with
Hodgkinís Lymphoma, a condition for which she is still receiving
treatment. There have been long and often painful months and
years of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It is a more recent
experimental drug regime that has happily had a positive effect
on the condition and has allowed her to continue to work hard
and lead a largely normal life; a life she takes every possible
opportunity to lead to the maximum.
And it is that positive, life-affirming attitude that imbues
every note of Carol Jarvisís playing on this diversely programmed,
entertaining and highly enjoyable CD, conceived to raise both
awareness and funding for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The musical material includes several evergreen favourites such
as Caravan, Alfie and When You Wish Upon a
Star. It is also laced with an appetising handful of originals.
The most intriguing of these is perhaps Jan Sandstromís Sang
Till Lotta, a beautiful miniature that in its touching but
never overly sentimental or cloying simplicity is light years
away from the same composerís Motorbike Concerto, famously
championed by another ambassador for the trombone, Christian
Amongst the other original material on offer, the projectís
conductor and co-producer Roderick Dunk - who along with Barry
Booth is also responsible for a number of the featured arrangements
- contributes Carolís Tune, an upbeat number that after
a slow introduction plays effectively to the soloistís fabulous
legato playing in its easy jazz style. Mel Purvesís haunting
For Absent friends is beautifully tinged with a hint
of blues yet maintains a folk-song feel to its melody and accompaniment.
Barry Boothís Principal Uncertainty conjures up images
of smoke-hazed late night jazz lounges, an atmosphere that Carol
Jarvis evokes to intoxicating effect.
The more familiar fare that provides the material for the talents
of the arrangers is no less effective with Rod Dunk and Barry
Booth putting their own slant on several of the numbers including
How High the Moon - no prizes for spotting the fleeting
quote from Rusalkaís Song to the Moon that provides
the cleverly appropriate introduction - and Duke Ellingtonís
legendary Caravan that in not dissimilar but slightly
more extended fashion quotes Borodinís In the Steppes of
Central Asia. The tricky Latin rhythms of Chick Coreaís
vibrant Spain sound deceptively easy in Jarvisís hands
with a sparkling Tico-Tico also providing well considered
contrast with the dreamier material on offer.
It is all very neatly summed up with the final track, an imaginative
arrangement by Roderick Dunk of Charlie Chaplinís Smile,
and an ideal musical metaphor for the soloist herself.
Carol Jarvisís frantically busy globe-trotting life as a freelance
trombonist continues unabated, as anyone that subscribes to
her frequent Twitter feeds will discover. But it is when one
couples her work ethic and sheer versatility as a player with
her incredible determination and resilience in attempting to
overcome her condition that we get close to understanding what
both life and a way forward in conquering that condition in
the future really means to her.
This beautiful, often touching and always entertaining CD is
a perfect demonstration of her passion for both causes.
Recorded in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity close
to Carol Jarvisís heart for very personal reasons.