Tina started exploring and developing her jazz sensibilities at University College, Cardiff. She attended vocal studies with Eilleen Price in the music dept. and almost immediately teamed up with other musicians to form small bands.She joined the Welsh Jazz Soc. run by Jed Williams and was soon a regular listening to Sweets Edison, Eddie’Lockjaw’ Davies, Al Cohn and many, many more at The Lions Den’ in the Great Western Hotel in Cardiff.
As a student of French ,Tina knew she would have the opportunity of living in France for a year as part of her degree course. She chose to study in Paris and began her apprenticeship in Jazz when ,by chance, she met up with some aspiring young music students, who invited her to ‘faire un boeuf’ – have a jam with them.These musicians were Pascal Gaubert and Patrick Villanueva – who recorded with Tina on the ‘live in Paris’ album nearly twenty years later! Very soon Tina was performing at Le Slow Club with the Roger Guerin Big Band with special guest Kenny Clarke – such a great drummer and sweet man. Le Caveau de la Huchette became another regular gig for Tina and the band. Tina formed a quartet with Patrick Villanueva, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Alain Richard and they performed allover Paris .
At that time Tina was also involved in theatre and especially comedy review- something she felt a great affinity with. She met up with another talented thespian Rory Bremner who was already writing sketches and performing his hilarious monologues and skits on politics. Together Tina and Rory performed ‘You are Eiffel but I like You (!)’ – a review show which they took from Paris to the Edinburgh Fringe re-naming it ‘Midnight Excess’. Tina was singing some amusing jazz songs like ‘I’m hip’ and doing some bi-lingual and ‘franglais’ originals as well as acting alongside Rory. Happy times !
Let’s skip a few years – theatre companies, tours. Tina loved to collaborate with her first real musical soulmate, Dylan Fowler, great guitarist and composer from south Wales. Together they played in quartet, quintet and then nonet – which became Frevo – the band led by Dylan with brazilian rhythma but original compositions – and lyrics by Tina. This band performed at Bath Festival ( where Tina was invited to sing by Egberto Gismonti’s trio), Edinburgh Fest. and Cork as well as touring the uk .
Tina decided it was time to move to London to further her musical aspirations. At first she was acting in a french-speaking theatre co. called Bac to Bac (as in le Bac) – which was a great experience – working with actors Tom Ray, Freddie Rostand and Jackie Robinson .Life was action-packed for Tina would be doing performances and workshops by day and gigging by night. Early musical friends were Robin Aspland (who plays on ‘I’ll take Romance’), Johnny Gee, Mornington Locket, Mick Hutton , Don Weller and many others who frequented the legendary 606 Club in Fulham .This was the latenight hang and place to jam ’til dawn . Tina also at that time would go and listen to her heroes at Ronnie Scotts Club – listening to Art Blakey, Cedar Walton , Irakere , Flora Purim and many others night after night. Tina did not renew her contract with Bac to Bac and went freelance – singing jazz for a living.