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Armorel Weston

Armorel Weston sings, plays bass and is co-creator in The Children

Follow the links for her CDs, including the latest, In Memory of Grace, and performances


 

Armorel 1Armorel Weston was born in Sussex and grew up in various country places, mainly in Wessex.

At 17 she came to London to become a jazz singer.

After a couple of years gigging with the Guy’s Hospital Jazz Band, she acquired a manager who wanted to make her the next Shirley Bassey.

That wasn’t what she’d had in mind, but she made the rounds of the cabarets, night-spots and US bases of Britain and the Continent, singing ‘God Bless the Child’ and ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ and ‘Twisted’.

Photograph by Gilbert of Mayfair

 

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Jazz was in a ferment, and many musicians were on a quest for its future, not only in London, but in Copenhagen, in Barcelona, in Paris.

On the Left Bank she sang at the Blue Note with Memphis Slim and met one of the key artists of the New Thing, the trumpeter Don Cherry. He introduced her to a legendary friend, an elder from the first generation of New Orleans jazzmen, clarinettist Albert Nicholas – who introduced her in turn to Amyl Nitrate, an acquaintance she opted not to follow up.

In London, along with the drummer John Stevens, she founded the Little Theatre Club. This was the first home in the UK for ”free jazz“ (“improv” as it’s more commonly called today) and a seedbed for many of its best, like Evan Parker, Trevor Watts, Paul Rutherford, Alan Tomlinson, Derek Bailey, Barry Guy, Eddie Prevost, Kenny Wheeler, Marcio Mattos, etc, etc.

 

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Ultimately, though, the glitter of that night-club grind just wore right off. So she cut off her hair and she sailed straight away for a wilder North country where she could not go wrong.

Photograph by Niels Bo Nielsen

 

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Eventually, turning her back on the town and the stage, she took to the hills, living for seven years on the western edge of the Lake District.

Meeting John Gibbens there turned her in the direction of the English ballads and poetry.

 

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And when she came back to the concrete world, she brought the earth back with her. Her potter’s shop survived for 11 years in Clerkenwell, on the edge of the City of London, up until 1992, like a real place in an unreal time.

Photograph by Keith Baugh

 

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The gift of a voice called her back. In the early Nineties, she started singing again and, in partnership with John Gibbens, formed The Children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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