Cindy Douglas’s My New Jive, and the Glamor of Jazz

Posted June 15th, 2012 at 6:35 pm (UTC+0)

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Sparkling Scottish jazz singer and songwriter Cindy Douglas has released her long-awaited debut album, My New Jive. The album arrives in stores after Cindy spent a few years impressing audiences across the United Kingdom with her unique and modern twist on American jazz classics.

Cindy Douglas - My New Jive

Cindy's debut album

The 11 tracks showcase her superb performance, fine talent, and passion for swing, bebop and world music, particularly from North African and the Middle East.

For me, My New Jive was well worth the wait. Cindy kicks it off with “A Little Quiet,” which pairs her lyrics, with music written by saxophonist and flutist John Handy. She contacted the American Grammy winner to ask for permission to write lyrics to his song.

“I had a wonderful conversation with him on the phone. It was a delight and a surprise,” she said in an interview with VOA’s Jazz Beat. “I’m grateful to say that he did like them [my lyrics].”


Cindy has also written lyrics to works by American jazz icons Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Ron Carter, and South Africa’s ‘King of Jazz’ Abdullah Ibrahim. Fans say her lyrics have substance as evidenced in the soulful “A Little Quiet”. The song was the first vocal version of a Handy tune. What’s more, “A Little Quiet” showcases Cindy’s wonderful voice and lyrical ability – at a time when the lyrical abilities of some of today’s songwriters are described as limited and generic.  Her voice is reminiscent of the great Ella Fitzgerald.

Cindy’s strong, impassioned voice captures the glamor of the golden era of jazz in the 1940’s. She says she has always had a love for jazz. “At a time when jazz has crossed over into just about every musical genre, the one constant in my musical tastes is rhythm and emotion: the heart of jazz, ” Cindy writes in her bio.  She says she was especially inspired by acclaimed jazz artists including Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Ahmad Jamal, Bobby Timmons, Horace Silver, Brad Mehldau, Shelley Manne, Anita O’Day, Betty Carter, Michel Petrucianni, and Abdullah Ibrahim.

Tracks on Cindy's debut album

Cindy Douglas developed passion for world music too, after visiting Cuba, Morocco and Egypt some 20 years ago. She says she learned to incorporate percussion in her music, thanks to a visit to Havana, Cuba, where she met members of the Buena Vista Social Club. Cindy also took lessons in djembe and Middle Eastern singing with Reem Khelani.

Her passion for World Music is reflected on the medley of Dizzy Gillespie’s classic “A Night In Tunisia & Caravan,” which features special guests, including Algerian percussionist Abdelkader Saadoun, and Ian East on saxophone and zurna. The song has a distinct Middle Eastern flavor that is captivating.

Born and raised in a small town on the West Coast of Scotland, Cindy took to the stage early in life. She grew up listening to traditional Scottish music.  She started to sing competitively in public in Primary School. In high school she got involved in drama and musical theater productions.  She focused on acting, and spent a year at a Theater Workshop in Edinburgh, learning stage craft and participating in more than 50 performances of “A Christmas Carol.” Later, Cindy pursued a career in human resources and at the same time, attended professional workshops for vocalists. Then, an event Cindy describes as “significant” changed both her life and career: the birth of her daughter.  In her bio, Cindy says it helped her rediscover jazz and re-evaluate her life. That’s when she decided to leave corporate life for good and focus all her energies on being a parent and a musician.

The extremely talented vocalist sings with all of her heart and soul, and her glamorous voice reflects that. I highly recommend her debut album to all  jazz and world music aficionados.

My New Jive was recorded in London with the Tim Richards Trio.  It was released simultaneously on CD and as a digital album on Apple’s iTunes Store.  Critics say Cindy’s passionate delivery, combined with her swingbebop mix, has given classic American jazz standards a new raw, regal poignancy, and marketability.

Track Listing: A Little Quiet; Alice in Wonderland; Jive Samba; I Should Have Told You Goodbye (Daahoud); Lover Man; The Party’s Over; Love for Sale; Waltz for Debbie; Social Call; This Here; A Night in Tunisia / Caravan.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America

Scottish singer, songwriter Cindy Douglas (Courtesy: Photographer Alicia Bruce)

Scottish singer, songwriter Cindy Douglas (Courtesy: Photographer Alicia Bruce)

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site,

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