In Conversation with...Aydenne Simone

30th April 2022

  • #womeninjazzmedia#podcast

In this special International Jazz Day episode we have tempted back special guest host, Hannah Horton who chats to Aydenne Simone – Big Mama!

 Aydenne has been dubbed ‘London’s Queen of Swing’ a badge she wears with pride and honour. The Big Mama Trio came about organically as ‘band trees’ do, but Mama wanted to have a band that ‘got her’, understood what proper jazz swing sounded like.  Mama wanted musicians that could swing like the clappers and she meant really swing! The most important thing for Aydenne was that her musicians played with authenticity, not just what was in front of them.  The history of jazz is about how it feels.  Feel something, don’t just play it.  One of Aydenne’s favourite composters is Duke Ellington who said “ If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good”. 

 The Big Mama Trio musicians play as if they were born in the wrong era, they play jazz as if they were born to, so it comes from the heart!.  Having been a jazz singer for nearly 30 years, to say the Big Mama Trio;  Olly Chalk, Tom Dring, and Gwilym Jones is the best jazz trio she has ever had is quite a statement, as she has worked with some super musicians over the years, but a statement she is willing to stand by.  Having been given a Sarah Vaughan album (‘You’re Mine You’ produced by Quincy Jones)  at the tender age of just six, quality jazz is in Aydenne’s DNA.

​Aydenne or ‘Mama’ says “ Olly, Tom & Gwilym just make jazz so real for me. Jazz for me is personal.  The most important thing about the Big Mama Trio is that each of them has authenticity, passion, and play with love and care.  The Big Mama Trio manages to deliver jazz at a level it should be played at,  with sheer quality, no snobbery, just authenticity, feeling and a depth of soul".

A little background for you............Aydenne’s nickname actually came from a song she wrote ‘off the top of her head’ called ‘Mama told me’, which she performed at a wedding in Jersey C.I.) with her function band ‘Jazz Culture’.   Aydenne’s nickname  ‘Big Mama’ is not so strange, in African or Black culture ‘Mama’, ‘mummy’ or ‘Auntie’ is a mark of respect for women of a certain age.  Usually a matriarch or senior member of a community or family, it’s lovely!.    So, Aydenne being known as 'Big Mama' or just 'Mama is a nickname Aydenne  just loves! 

Aydenne website

 Hannah is a British Female Jazz Saxophonist who’s music is rooted in jazz, folk and funk. She has performed with many great jazz artists including Ian Shaw, Amy Winehouse, John Etheridge, Tina May, Georgia Mancio, Polly Gibbons, Natalie Williams, Esther Bennett and Irene Serra; and at venues including Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Dean St, The 606, The Pheasantry, Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Royal Festival Hall and The Barbican. She has also toured in Europe and USA with her own and other groups. Her latets album has been going down a storm across the world.

“Hannah makes the big beast of a baritone sax sound like an angel” – Ian Shaw

Hannah website

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