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The jazz-singing actress

PUBLISHED: 11:43 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 11 August 2010

Carol Sloman

Carol Sloman

KICKING off a season of jazz and blues sessions at Queen s Theatre, Hornchurch, was Bluesmoke – a quartet fronted by Carol Sloman. Their laid-back style and original music performed at dusk last Sunday evening, April 13, was a perfect way to wash away the

KICKING off a season of jazz and blues sessions at Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch, was Bluesmoke - a quartet fronted by Carol Sloman.

Their laid-back style and original music performed at dusk last Sunday evening, April 13, was a perfect way to wash away the blues and forget about work on Monday morning.

Speaking about her creative side, musical director of Queen's, Carol Sloman, says: "I love being in a band; Bluesmoke gives me a chance to be creative in different ways to my job as musical director.

"When I'm composing for the stage I usually like to write music for Shakespeare because you can really make it your own, no music exists for it.

"I taught myself to play piano when I was quite young, and I was classically trained from about the age of 12."

Dave Fletcher is the other writer in the band; he and Carol have known each other for about 20 years.

Being two very like-minded people, their friendship has remained strong over the years. Carol says: "We met in Brighton where he had a band called Receiver that I wanted to join. I kept pestering him and generally making a nuisance of myself until he said yes.

"We were a covers band and played a lot of gigs in Brighton but it all came to an end after a while.

"Dave and I wanted to do more original songs, and the balance wasn't right in the group anymore so we went our separate ways."

Carol went to the West End where she played Cynthia in Lennon, a production about the life of John Lennon - a role for which she received an Olivier Award nomination.

It was here that she met Matt, another member of the Bluesmoke quartet. Carol said: "When I was in Buddy Matt played one of the Crickets, and he is a wonderfully talented drummer.

"So when Dave and I decided to put a band together I remembered Matt and asked him to join us.

"It's always the hardest thing about being in a band, finding people who share your tastes.

"I hope that we have the right balance, and the audience can see that.

"Because if you can't connect with or engage your audience you may as well pack up and go home."

The other member of Bluesmoke is Carol's son, Robbie who is studying at Leeds College of Music.

"I'm always saying to him that he can leave if he wants, just in case playing in his mum's band is cramping his style."

Carol and Bluesmoke always get a warm reception at the Queen's Theatre where they have a loyal audience.

Speaking about Queen's, Carol said: "It's a very community-based theatre, and in many ways is quite unique, it has a permanent company and it's based around the actors and musicians.

"I was working in Boots the chemists when I was asked if I wanted to work at Queen's, so of course I jumped at the chance."

As well as being a brilliant musical director, Carol is a very talented actress - but doesn't take to the stage as often as she used to.

Carol explains: "I don't know which I prefer, being on stage or composing, I get a great kick out of both.

"I love acting, but I think that as you get older there aren't as many roles that you can play.

"With comedy it doesn't matter so much - I love all the great comic rolls, its delicious getting laughs. I'd rather be funny than sexy.

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