First words to BBC Radio Suffolk's Stephen Foster, the station's longest serving presenter and a broadcaster with an encyclopedic knowledge
of popular music: "Helen Abbey is one of East Anglia's best singers, not just in the field of jazz but in many other genres too". Praise as
well from the American Scott Yanow, who included her in his internationally acclaimed book "The Jazz Singers - The Ultimate Guide" (Backbeat Books),
describing Helen as "promising and worth knowing about".
Helen Abbey is a graduate of London's prestigious Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama with a Diploma in Performing Arts and began her singing
career with a regular gig at the capital's Ritz Hotel with close harmony group The Swing Sisters. After taking time to raise a family, she returned
to London to showcase her special vocal talents at the renowned Pizza On The Park venue in Knightsbridge.
A debut album "Simply Me" was released in 2003 and premiered before a sell out crowd at Ipswich's Wolsey Theatre. This recording emphasised her two
great qualities that by no means every big name singer in jazz can match - first the ability to deliver a lyric in a manner where every phrase and
nuance of a song can be understood. She sings a song as if she means every word - a simple but vital strength. There's a sensitivity here that sets
her apart from many of her contemporaries - and a not inconsiderable charm at work both on record and in a live set.
That first disc featured her enduring international collaboration with the superb Italian jazz harmonica player, Luigi Ferrara, and took her to
the finals of the Sony Search For A New Jazz Star. Two tracks from "Simply Me" were licensed for inclusion on two jazz compilation albums from
Japan destined for the Asian jazz market - "Jewels" and "Peaceful Garden".
"Second Time Around" was launched at the intimate and beautiful surroundings of Sudbury's Quay Theatre in September 2009. This disc was an
eagerly anticipated set with a diverse selection of material and a soulful reinterpretation of some fine standards, show tunes and chart toppers
with one original composition. If the choice of songs is impeccable - well, so too is Helen's singing.
In 2011 she began work on her most ambitious project yet, Verão! Working with co-writer and guitarist Dave Burrluck she set out to craft a
collection of original tunes moving away from the classic jazz repertoire to a more contemporary Brazilian-influenced sound. The resulting album,
"Unusual Girl", released in 2012, has already received airplay and critical acclaim.
2013? Work begins on Verão!'s second album in October and there's a diary full of gigs for the band and Helen's solo projects. One thing's
for sure: we'll be hearing much more from Helen in the very near future.