THE history of jazz is replete with inspirational rags-to-riches stories, none more so than the original divas of the genre.

Billie Holiday first heard music as a young girl doing errands in a brothel, while Doris Day thought nothing of jumping on her bicycle to the local recording studio to sing what would become a US Number One.

Now music fans can hear anecdotes of the stars and their music when the Lorna Reid Quartet celebate the jazz divas at Carnegie Hall tomorrow (Friday).

“It’s not a lecture on jazz,” Lorna laughed. “People enjoy the wee stories because it brings a bit of their personality into the show.

“Some people might not be aware that Billie Holiday was a runner for prostitutes and that’s where she first heard jazz - a Betty Smith record being played on the gramaphone by the women in the brothels.

“Betty Smith grew up literally singing for her supper on the streets and grew up to be a top recording artist.

Ella Fitzgerald also grew up in a very deprived, impoverished background and that was painted over once her publicity team got their hands on her and moulded her to look like she was from a middle class, respectful background.” Edinburgh-based vocalist Lorna (pictured above) started her jazz career around eight years ago after working in genres from country to classical.

In that time she has risen to become one of Scotland’s most respected jazz singers and has worked with some of the UK’s finest musicians and singers including a recent joint-billing at The Lot in Edinburgh with award-winning singer Tina May.

Her album of jazz and blue standards, Gypsy in my Soul, was well received.

The evening will see the quartet performing songs by the aforementioned Betty Smith and Billie Holliday, Norah Jones and others, giving a bit of background about the women.

So why not finish with another “wee story” about Doris Day’s US smash Number One Secret Love?

“Apparently the studio had phoned her in the morning and said, ‘Doris we need you to come in and record secret love’. So she jumped on her bike cycled down to the recording studio and recorded it in one take. Job done.

“It paints a fun little picture especially compared to some of the artists of today who are picked up in a limo.” l The Lorna Reid Quartet Celebrate The Jazz Divas is at Carnegie Hall tomorrow (Friday) at 7.30pm. For tickets call 01383 602302.