Smile Ė Carol Jarvis
What are you doing new yearís eve (Frank LOESSER arr. Dunk) [2:34]
When you wish upon a star (Ned WASHINGTON arr. Booth) [4:24]
Carolís tune (Roderick DUNK) [2:59]
How high the moon (Morgan LEWIS arr. Booth) [4:11]
Polka dots and moonbeams (Jimmy van HEUSEN arr. Booth) [3:46]
But beautiful (Jimmy van HEUSEN arr. Jarvis) [4:58]
Caravan (Duke ELLINGTON arr. Dunk) [3:41]
Sang till lotta (Jan SANDSTROM) [6:23]
Night and day (Cole PORTER arr. Booth) [4:18]
Alfie (Burt BACHARACH arr. Booth) [5:40]
For absent friends (Mel PURVES) [4:10]
Tico-tico (Zequinha ABREU arr. Dunk) [2:32]
Principal uncertainty (Barry BOOTH) [3:26]
Spain (Chick COREA arr. Dunk) [3:44]
In the wee small hours of the morning (David MANN arr. Dunk) [3:08]
Smile (Charles CHAPLIN arr. Dunk) [2:47]
Carol Jarvis (trombone)
Orchestra/Roderick Dunk
rec. Phoenix Sound, Pinewood, October 2009
DIVINE ART DIVERSIONS DDV24150 [62:47]

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 Lindberg.

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.

Christopher Thomas

Recorded in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity close to Carol Jarvisís heart for very personal reasons, Smile is an entertaining and highly polished showcase of the soloistís versatility on the trombone.