Bought her first electric guitar when she was fourteen, however she had to keep her ambition to play in a band a secret from the nuns at her convent school. Mainly self-taught, she discovered the sounds of blues and jazz, and began to play with a whole variety of bands from rock to big band jazz.
She signed to EMI records with manager Harvey Goldsmith, with her group Tour de Force, however she started sitting in with the jazz/latin group the Guest Stars...
1983 Busking be-bop tunes in Covent Garden with two other Guest Stars one lunchtime, she was spotted by producer Chris Lent who offered her the job of guitar presenter on the BBC's ground-breaking show Rockschool.
The two series of BBC TV's Rockschool attracted audiences of 2 million viewers every week in the UK and was subsequently shown worldwide. In the U.S.A. on WNET, the programmes were introduced by Herbie Hancock.
Meanwhile she was also performing and composing for one of the most successful of the British jazz groups of the 80's - the internationally acclaimed women's jazz group the Guest Stars with whom she recorded three albums and toured in 17 countries.
Memorable moments include playing to a capacity crowd at the Alexandria opera house, cleaning ladies dancing to an early morning rehearsal in Bagdhad, and being the first British band to headline at Ronnie Scotts club in London and the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York.
In 1991 she formed her own group. The Deirdre Cartwright Group have played extensively in the UK on tours supported by Jazz Services, Jazz Action, and the Arts Council. Festivals include: Brecon, Newcastle, Bradford, Nottingham, Cardiff Bay, Chard, Bath, Swanage and the London Jazz Festival.
As a solo artist she has played with American guitar legend Tal Farlow, toured with Jamaican composer Marjorie Whylie, played throughout Europe,has seen the weekly jazz club she co-runs Blow the Fuse become one of the most popular in London and has been a regular presenter for BBC Radio 3.
Most recently she was commissioned by Chard International Womens Music Festival to devise an original performance and educational piece. "Flight " was also performed for the London Jazz Festival and included appearances at the Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Hall with an international band.
She was invited by the British Council to represent Great Britain at the European Jazz Festival in Mexico City. Played to an audience of 2000 people - one of the most popular groups of the festival.
Concert and live radio broadcast with her trio at the Warsaw International Guitar Festival.Two previous released CDs to critical acclaim...
She is the recipient of two Arts Council composition awards though still acknowledges the lasting effect of an early exposure to 'Glam Rock'.
"Precious Things" was released in the UK in July 2002.
Deirdre Cartwright guitars
Janette Mason piano hammond organ and synth
Alison Rayner electric & double bass
Carola Grey drums
It reached No 3 in the Soul Jazz Charts and No 3 in the Student Radio charts in it's first month of release and has received very rave reviews both in the national newspapers and jazz magazines including...
She's a terrific player, but displays of blinding technique are not her style. Her strength lies in her ability to absorb the huge variety of modern approaches to the instrument, without copying any of them. and produce witty and personal music in the process
Dave Gelly The Observer
On Precious Things she shows her jazz versatility as her all - female quartet breeze through organ - based grooves, swing and fusion. The title track sounds like Pat Metheny on a good day and Smells like Jazz is snaky funk that John Scofield would be proud of.
John Bungey The Times
Cartwright's mingling of a Metheny - like sound and delicate textures suggestive of Ralph Towner is very expressive on the title track, and the idiomatic range is full of surprises.
John Fordham The Guardian
Her reworking of the Brothers Gallagher's Wonderwall sums up the whole of Precious Things in one glorious swipe. Similarly, tracks such as the futuristic Hyperbubble, the Scofield - esque Urban Reshuffle and the intriguingly titled Smells like Jazz are played with a knowing grin and glint in eye. The playing is rock solid, especially from Cartwright herself whose absorption of many styles - hard bop, organ trio groove, present day fusion - is equally refreshing. Her choice of bandmates is spot on with Grey, Rayner and Mason all sharing the same sense of humour and frivolity. Imagine Jim Mullen meets a jazz incarnation of the Beverley Sisters and you will have some idea of the ensuing mood. (You will? - Ed).
Rick Finlay Jazz Review
The title track is a little gem of modern guitar playing, with its Bill Frisell meets Pat Metheny wide open spaces feel.
Peter Bacon Birmingham Post
.. this collection confirming her as a player (and composer) with the rare gift of saying things in a concise and direct way. In fact one of the most outstanding aspects of this CD is the evident lack of fuss and exaggeration, with tunes, arrangements, and solos all developed thoughtfully, with everything superfluous or excessive left out. Overall, there is clearly a strong instrumental voice here, and a firm sense of direction throughout an absorbing album.
Pete Martin Jazz UK
... only serves to highlight the leader's own compositional skills on the well- crafted title track in particular. The fleeting references to Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit on Smells Like Jazz tantalised me further - I wish that she'd actually covered the Cobain song. It has a depth of feeling that entirely suits Cartwright's robust, driving style.
Kevin Le Gendre Echoes
.. good things such as the fractured riffing of Smells like Jazz, the spikey post-bop of X Factor and the volume swells of Urban Reshuffle, and there are neat touches of drum 'n' bass and Latin rhythms throughout. Best bit? N.16's Hammond -driven funk. Inspiration Factor? High - how many excellent female jazzers do you know? . ***** Guitar Techniques