A jazz-infused repertoire from the golden age of song can be enjoyed in Dorchester next weekend when Clare Teal performs with her trio. Joanna Davis enjoys a chinwag with Clare to find out more.

CLARE Teal is somewhere on the M4 near Chippenham when we speak. It's a grey, drizzly day but Clare is in good spirits because being on the road is extremely familiar territory.

"I do about 70 gigs a year so the tour I've been on has lasted for 20 years. The trio are like family to me. The banter that happens with us and the audience happens very naturally."

This warm, witty Yorkshirewoman who chats away freely as thought she's talking to a friend, left her home county when she was 18 and is 45 now.

"I've loved living away in different parts of the country," she said.

"When you grow up in Yorkshire your identity is so strong - I'll never not be from Yorkshire, it's my roots and I'm very proud of them.

"I did gravitate to the south west where I have loved living, but driving around on tour is special because you get to see how beautiful everywhere is."

Keeping in touch with her Yorkshire roots, Clare regularly writes a column for the Yorkshire Post about her life.

"It started off as a promotion for the record in 2007 and it's still going fortnightly now.

"I talk about some of the amusing things that happen like yesterday at our show when Jason needed a lift to go to the airport because he hadn't sorted a taxi out. I asked the audience if anyone could drive him and after a long rippling silence this guy sheepishly said 'I could get him there'.

"I though 'oh dear, what have I done, this guy could be anyone and I'm making Jason go with him.'

"It turns out it was the chairman of Crufts who gave him the lift and they spent the journey chatting away about dogs!"

Clare has been broadcasting on Radio 2 since 2004 and has presented a number of big band shows. She's a fan of more obscure jazz artists and uses the platform of her show to play artists such as jazz singer Nancy Wilson and Pinky Winters. Her favourite part is the listener interaction, she says.

"When you're putting a show out live and and you're sitting in front of a microphone, it's so nice because it's like a tennis game and it's so nice because you're always getting something back.

"It's strange because you're putting something out there and trying to gauge if there's a some interest and it's so lovely when people start reacting."

Clare's show features an eclectic song list, bringing more exhilarating swing and sparkling melodies celebrating the Great American and British song books as well as contemporary writers creating the standards of today.

And she's really looking forward to performing in Dorchester for the first time, she says.

"This will be my Dorchester debut. I have been there on a short break before and I think it's a beautiful part of the country."

Clare has had the honour of playing in many prestigious venues but it is quite easy for her to pick her favourite, she says.

"The Royal Albert Hall is a wonderful venue which holds a lot of people but the music reaches everybody.

"The way it has been designed is incredible, it's particularly noticeable if you are doing a ballad and how it sounds. There's nothing quite like it. It's quite exhilarating as a performer. Although the Corn Exchange is a venue I'm yet to play in, which I'm sure will be very special."

Clare says a show with her trio is always full of surprises and varies from venue to venue.

She said: "You read the room, you look at the people and you get a feel for what they are responding to. I find you can really put a song in the reach of people if you talk about people you have been influenced by such as Ella Fitzgerald, but another influence is Elvis, I do an Elvis song and all the boys play harmonies and people really connect.

"It's a song called Don't. I always loved it as a kid, it's actually got a really sinister lyric but I don't hear the sinister part of it it reminds me of the past. I feel when you can feel that connection running through the room and people are remembering memories through songs that reminds you of something it's almost a responsibility in a way."

And on the night people can expect to hear some little known gems.

"I'm always looking for great tunes and lyrics. If it's something not well known you can put your own spin on it.

"When we were buying records over the counter, if an album didn't do well it would be deleted. But now with streaming services the labels are releasing everything and I'm finding some real hidden gems."

The moment in her career Clare is most proud of is the work she's done to make the Proms a reality.

"It took me about eight months to put together, they're double big band proms at the Royal Albert Hall, I was doing everything from choosing the music to booking musicians, writing running orders," she said.

And Clare is happy to admit she's on a mission to make big band music as accessible as possible.

She said: "I see it as being like a type of pop music. In the 1930s and 40s the big band music was made with large ensembles of musicians and exciting arrangements and it was being written by young people. You look at some of the music written today and you just wonder where all the chords have gone! The big band music was so clever and paved the way for pop music."

And although jazz and big band specialist is a title she has quite justifiably earned over the years, it still sit sits a little uncomfortably with the very humble Clare.

She said: "As soon as you get lumbered with the title 'specialist', it's a poisoned chalice.

"The first thing you realise is you're not going to know enough! I'm never good at remembering all the details if I'm put on the spot, but I usually have a rough idea of a timeline when things happened.

"If you combine it with all the socio-political events of the time it makes it easier to remember. But I'm definitely not one to invite to a dinner party because I probably bore people with it all!"

*Clare Teal and her Trio play Dorchester Corn Exchange on Saturday, March 23 at 8pm. Call the box office for tickets.