debut – 1994

  1. Spartia
  2. Slippers 15s 8d
  3. I thought of you
  4. Trap
  5. When pushing comes to shoving
  6. Grand loup
  7. Pisces moon
  8. One more
  9. Walk with me

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  • Deirdre Cartwright – electric guitar (paradis avalon)
  • Louise Elliott – tenor sax/flute
  • Alison Rayner – double/fretless bass
  • Gary Hammond – congas/bongos/percussion
  • Chris Bacon – drums/marimba


  • Josefina Cupido – vocal/afgan drum
  • Steve Lodder – piano/synth


?…halfway through the second track she embarks on a solo that ignites the session. Her subtle shading on the first number is replaced with an authoritative attitude that digs in and stays the distance. The tenorist picks up on the mood and lets rip in a similarly confident manner. A very impressive debut.?
Jazz Journal International

“The music is gentle but never bland, ingenious without being over intricate, and arranged with plenty of listener-friendly light and shade. The five piece band plays superbly throughout, in particular saxophonist Louise Elliott, bassist Alison Rayner and guest pianist Steve Lodder.”
Dave Gelly, The Observer

“This lovely album is full of extremely attractive compositions. As usual she teams up with bass guitarist Alison Rayner – the double bass sound on the ballad ‘I Thought of You’ is positively huge – and there are other fine musicians to be heard like, Louise Elliott, gorgeous flute on Pisces Moon, and the brilliant percussionist Gary Hammond.”
Brian Blain, Musician

“Funky fusion and laid back jazz abounds, featuring Deirdre’s clean precise Strat tones and some tasty double bass playing, particularly on ‘Slippers 15s 8d’. Other tracks worth a mention include ‘Spartia’ and the perfect late night listening of ‘I Thought of You?.?
Guitarist Magazine

“…the release of prominent British fusion guitarist Deirdre Cartwright’s well deserved first release ‘Debut’. The record is an enjoyable collection of original material featuring Cartwright’s own interesting and intelligent improvisations.”
Linton Chiswick, Time Out

This is the first fully fledged bandleader album from British guitar virtuoso Deirdre Cartwright, whose musical interests are very diverse but whose moorings clearly seem to be in jazz – as much a spirit as a music to her. She had a brief dalliance with fame in her role as teacher-presenter of TV’s ‘Rockschool’. But most of her time has been devoted to composing and performing with different group formations: jazz trios and the larger, evolving Deirdre Cartwright Group heard here.

On ‘Debut’, released in 1994, Cartwright assembled a fascinating collection of musical talent. Josefina Cupido, from Brazil, has a wide-ranging voice and an eclectic interest in percussion. Her recordings include ‘One Woman, One Drum’ (SLCD40000) with Paul Clarvis, Garry Hunt and Chris Brisco. Louise Elliott (tenor sax and flute) came to Britain from Australia in 1985. She has played with African and Latin musicians in Grand Union Orchestra, as well as recording with bass master Jah Wobble and trombonist Annie Whitehead. Gary Hammond (bongos, congas, assorted percussion) has worked with Theo Travis and John Etheridge on ‘Secret Island’ (33 Jazz). Chris Baron (drums and marimba) is now involved with Mark Nightingale’s five trombone project, ‘Bone Structure’. Former Cambridge organ scholar Steve Lodder (piano and synth) has played with many leading lights of modern jazz, notably Andy Sheppard, George Russell and Carla Bley. Last but not least is Cartwright’s long-term collaborator Alison Rayner (acoustic and fretless electric bass). Rayner is also a composer and teacher. She led ‘The Jazz Garden’ quartet from 1989 to 1992.

The album itself, far from being the busy affair you might expect from such a sizeable line-up, is light and airy. Indeed it is full of subtle, fun-loving textures and wistful asides. From the brooding intro on ‘Spartia’ right through to the playfulness of ‘Trap’, the grooving of ‘Grand Loup’, gentle funk in ‘Walk With Me’, and some midnight balladry on ‘When Pushing Comes to Shoving’ and ‘Pisces Moon’, this CD positively shimmers with ideas. What links it all together is Cartwright’s fluid, flighty but somehow unhurried guitar sound. The melodies are delicious, the harmony tempting. It all leaves you wanting more, just as any good music should.

Those meeting Deirdre Cartwright for the first time on ‘Debut’ will certainly want to check out the harder swinging follow up, ‘Play’ (1998). Her latest album, ‘Precious Things’ (summer 2002) is equally intriguing. At a time when technique alone can’t buy you music, Deirdre Cartwright is one composer and guitarist who puts just that extra bit of devotion into her sound to make it truly lingering.

Simon Barrow, Top 500 Reviewer