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At first glance they’re a Cheap Replica Watches musical odd couple: Marilyn Waring, the classically trained vocalist and Edwina Thorne, the free-spirited trumpet player.  Yet their desire to explore jazz’s myriad complexities reveals them as kindred spirits.   Although they’ve known each other since Cambridge Music School days in the early ‘70s, a chance meeting in the supermarket two years ago sparked this collaboration.  Every Tuesday night whenever they’re both in town they get together to rehearse.  Full stop, no exceptions.   

They’ve developed a “hell of a repertoire,” says Edwina, that includes such songs as Summertime, Route 66, Bye, Bye Blackbird, and Come Rain, Come Shine.  Last year they performed in Bangkok, a few weeks ago at the Whangarei Jazz Festival.  Currently they have 8-10 more gigs on the books.  “Things are rolling,” Edwina adds.       

To adapt to jazz, Marilyn had to loosen her white-knuckle grip on her classical training. “It was so hard at first to intentionally slide out of tune,” she says, “or not come in on time.  Or breathe all over the place.  We had to really untrain me.”  

Edwina appreciates Marilyn’s exactitude and her insistence on high standards.  “She’s a stickler,” she says.  Marilyn finds that she can relax because Edwina has the confidence to make things go right, no matter what.  And they’re both in agreement about performing exciting, interesting music.  Marilyn refuses to sing songs with trivial or boring lyrics.  Edwina wants complexity, lots of chord changes that allow her trumpet a lush range of expression.  

Growing up, Edwina was expected to learn the piano so she could accompany her trumpet-playing brothers.  She rebelled, insisting that, like the boys, she get to set her own course.  Today, years later her determination has paid off in the empowering performances that she and Marilyn give that show women just how liberating jazz can be.  

So somehow the quirky pairing works; Edwina and Marilyn prove the old adage that the sum can add up to more than the addition of its parts.  They bring to the other strengths neither possesses alone.  And to their audiences they give music they won’t easily forget.

Reviews 

"Marilyn and Edwina transformed what was planned as a small party into an all-night dance-a-thon that was remembered by many - including me - as one of the highlights of our event.  Their infectious music and the sheer fun of their performances was irrepressible.  Even the hotel staff was humming and tapping along to the beat - in fact, the hotel ended up staying open for several hours past the planned closing time, because they couldn't get anyone to go home!  Feminist activist Emma Goldman once said, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."  Marilyn and Edwina know how to make you dance, and I for one definitely want to be part of their musical revolution." 

Caroline Sin
Forum Manager, Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)