Jan.s: Sandie, I became aware of your presence in the Sydney jazz scene during the 1980's I believe.
Sandie:Yes Janice that is true – I had stopped singing for quite a number of years – and one day I was invited out by a young man (haha) who took me to a pub abd there was my old friend Jack Allen. To cut a long story short – he went to another gig and then 3 weeks later said I have a new gig and I want you to be my singer! So suddenly there I was back singing again! Fortunately I had about 5 months with him and then started to work with other people who were really nice to me when they found I was back singing.
Jan.s: You exude the kind of know how and vocal style that takes me back to one of the first Australian jazz singers I heard in the 1960's, our own Kate Dunbar.
Sandie: Well that’s interesting I must say – I mean Kate Dunbar is an absolute icon in Australian jazz – an amazing lady and I have the feeling that she really knows a lot more than me – but our styles are I think, really quite different! I mean she is a fine trad jazz singer – I just go for the standards – eg the Great American Song Book – and bebop! And would you believe I didn’t know she was English!! Mind you I was born in Earls Court – so that really makes me an Aussie by birth!!
Jan.s: My perception is that here, as in most places, where Jazz is alive and kicking, a reinvention of the music takes place, yet the ground has it's roots in a well established vocabulary.
Sandie: This is absolutely true – without that “vocabulary” – jazz would probably be all over the place!! Wonderful people like Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Art Tatum planted the seeds and all the other greats that followed – just kept the flower growing!
Jan.s: Whilst we no longer have the urgency to create support groups such as SWIM, (Sydney Women In Jazz) established in the early ‘80’s but briefly lived… is there enough going on now that supports women playing/writing in the jazz idiom?
Sandie: - Well it was a shame that SWIM was so short lived – but I think you are right – there is very little support for women in jazz – basically I guess we just have to fight for ourselves – but for me singing is life itself and therefore I fight! Maybe we should start something again!