RIP Tina May (1961-2022)

Tina May

With his express permission – and also with our sincerest thanks and deepest sympathies – we publish this statement from Ben Tracey:

It is in deep bereavement that I must release news of the passing of Tina May, beloved mum of myself and my sister Gemma.

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Tina has borne the short months of her cancer prognosis with dignity and optimism, in the company of her children and partner Simon. She was made to feel much loved during this time. She died at home on the evening of Saturday the 26th, having earlier watched the livestream of the Pizza Express tribute concert in London, in which many of her colleagues and friends paid her fond sentiments of friendship and solidarity.

My mum has had a great many vocations in her life: performer, educator, mentor, and confidante. She has touched many peoples’ lives and in some way improved every one. She achieved this with her special ability to make someone feel they were good enough, that as they were, they mattered – to her and in the world.

We, and everyone who knew Tina, will be forever grateful for that.

Tina May. Born 30 March 1961. Died 26 March 2022.

Categories: News

33 replies »

  1. So very, very unfair. Dearest Tina, you touched all our Iives and of course for the better.
    Bon courage, Ben, Gemma and Simon……

  2. so sad, she was a beautiful person in every sense of the word. I will cherish my last, very funny, conversation with her when she graced us with her presence in Glasgow. RIP Tina you will be so very much missed by so many people.

  3. Lovely, lovely Tina. Brecon Jazz, Wales & you forever linked. Indescribable loss. Sadly, love to all xxx

  4. Pam and I are extremely heartbroken. She was a great friend. May she Rest In Peace. We’re beyond words.

  5. Tina was a truly amazing friend and a hugely talented musician. A dear school pal, remembered by us all for her fun, laughter and indomitable spirit, always doing things her way, with a twinkle in her eye and love in her heart. Sending my heartfelt condolences to Ben, Gemma and Simon. ❤

  6. I remember Tina fondly and well from university, and am so very sad to learn of her passing. Sincerest condolences to her family.

  7. Devastated. Tina you have been such an inspiration in so many ways. I am so glad to have known you, worked with you, had you sing at Herne Bay Jazz Festival. Can’t thank you enough. You were always smiling, always kind, always supportive, and always so absolutely lovely. A huge loss.

  8. Have many fond memories of Tina, One time, doing a charity show I had organised at Pizza On The Park. Shall miss her, deepest condolences to those closely affected by this tragic and untimely loss.

  9. Utterly devastated to hear this news. Sincerest condolences to Ben, Gemma and Simon.
    Richard and I are so grateful to have known such a beautiful and talented soul that was Tina. Rest In Eternal Peace darling Tina xxxxx

  10. This is really awful news. I have backed her several times over the years when she came to Cornwall. Lovely, talented lady.

  11. Gemma, my dear friends Kate Sheridan and Fran, of Speakeasy Jazz, first introduced me to your lovely mum. I watched her perform several times and was mesmerised – on and offstage. A truly beautiful soul. My heartfelt love goes out to you, Ben and Simon.❤️

  12. We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear of Tina May’s passing. So cruel. Her legacy for future generations is her voice which will live on. Elissa Evans, Margot Morgan, Deb Checkland and Jen Wilson, Jazz Heritage Wales

  13. Loved by all who knew her. Touched by all who met her. All heartbroken at her passing. One of life’s most beautiful souls . I can’t believe we will never see you again. Much love and always.


  14. Tina is the only British jazz singer where I have many of her CD’s having seen her perform in Darlington and Saltburn several times some years ago. A lovely lady with a great little band, especially her pianist. Nikki Iles. Very sad.

  15. Ben, Gemma and Simon; Please accept my deepest and most sincere condolences. I am shocked and devastated by this sad news.

    I am grateful to have known Tina and have some wonderful memories of her and of her kindness and talent. I was helping to organise a Jazz seminar in Santa Marinella near Rome and advised the main organiser to invite her to teach ( although I didn’t know her, but I had a hunch) When she arrived, I knew my hunch was true – The moment she stepped through the door, she lit up the room and dazzled everyone with her presence. At the end of the course as a thank you for my help during it, she surprised me with an energy reiki massage, which I’ll never forget – Such was her generous spirit.

    We remained friends after Rome; she called me Chantallini which was funny (She also had a great nickname) – She was an amazing story teller, linguist and wordsmith and possessed tremendous wit and humour. She once invented (on the spot) an entire repertoire of Jazz songs replacing the original titles with names of types of fish (hilarious) She was also very wise and her advice to me was : “Whenever you have an occasion to sing, take it,”

    (Which is to say : Carpe Diem – Seize The Day)
    I have kept her words in my heart .She understood the importance of making the most of life and wanted to instil that in those around her. My prayers are with you xxx

  16. What sudden and tragic news. My condolences to her partner, children, family and friends. A wonderful musician who made us happy. We last saw her early in 2020 in Greenock, singing with Brian Kellock. RIP. Long Life

  17. Very sad news. Jazz has lost a wonderful entertainer and personality. Tina sang at our club many times over the last 35 years and once brought Ben with her when he was very young. We were all looking forward to her doing our Xmas gig last year when the shocking news of her illness broke. Condolences to all her family from all at Wakefield Jazz.

  18. Frank Griffith writes:

    Tina May was a joy to to collaborate with and know as a person. An
    extraordinarily talented and natural singer, she always welcomed unusual
    and challenging concepts in interpreting songs and arrangements. She
    would often learn her parts immediately by ear even though she was well
    equipped to read and play them on the piano.

    A walking bright and beaming light was Tina, spreading music and joy in
    equal measure.

  19. My first jazz vocals teacher. She encouraged and inspired all her students at Coaraze, singing wonderfully in French or English, and going forward, we owe it to her to sing with verve and emotion, I know I will try. Sad xxx

  20. My wife Kate and I got to know Tina when she was in Cardiff, where she began her musical career, singing in jazz clubs like the late, lamented Gibbs in Churchill Way. Tina had a way of making you think she was singing just for you. When we moved to London we stayed friends, got to know the Tracey family a little bit, went to their early gigs together at Pizza on the Park (sometimes there were only a dozen of us in the audience!) and all around the capital. We’d lost touch since leaving London so it was a shock to hear she’d died from cancer and still only sixty. I’ll always remember her for her musicianship, her warm personality and sense of humour. I’ve got a couple of her records and will give them a spin in her memory today. Our condolences to Ben (whom I met when he was just a kid in St Albans) Gemma and to her sister, whom I met once all those years ago in Cardiff.

  21. No personal story to retell, just to say thank you for what you have shared with us through your immense talent .. thank you Ben for your lovely words

  22. Several years ago I went to atina gig advertised at a pub in hammersmith south of the river.This was to be a duo with nikki iles.
    I went with two friends.Tina had journey problems and they arrived very late only to find we werre the only audience.Unfazed and with a not too well tuned upright piano they launched in to a marvellous set.We had a very pleasant chat during their much needed break.
    I will miss her so muh.
    William Rowe

  23. I had the most fun attending a Leeds College of Music jazz workshop with Tina 20 years ago and still remember how encouraging she was to us all, making us feel we too could really sing jazz! She even lent me – a complete stranger – her own songbook to make copies for me to use!
    Someone who stays in your mind for so long after only knowing for 3 days, must really have been an inspirational person.
    Am so sad she had to die so young.

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