A mad whirl: Armour finds her voice in the local jazz scene

Trinell Armour a.k.a “The Mad Scatter.”

By Michele DeVinney
For IN|Fort Wayne publications

Always involved in music, Trinell Armour turned to more practical matters as she moved into adulthood.

After graduating from Paul Harding High School and attending Purdue University, Armour began working full-time and raising her three young children.

She thought her musical days were behind her until one fateful August day in 2014 when she attended downtown Fort Wayne’s Taste of the Arts. With two of her children involved with Fort Wayne Ballet, the single mom was there to support her kids but stuck around to hear some music.

“It was later in the evening, and there was a jazz quartet playing so we stayed to listen to the music,” Armour said.

That quartet was the Alicia Pyle Quartet, and among its members is Derek Reeves, a violist for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and a friend of Armour’s. The combo quickly earned some new fans.

“We were completely enamored,” she said. “I love music in general, and so do my kids. The looks on their faces were so great. They just came alive. APQ fuses jazz with classical pieces that my kids were familiar with. From that point on we started following them around town, seeing them play as much as we could.”

One evening she decided to catch a performance at Club Soda, a venue her kids were too young to enter. Instead Armour took her nieces, and that night changed Armour’s life forever.

“Derek told Alicia that they should have me sit in with them so she asked me. I was terrified, and I didn’t want to do it. I missed having music in my life, but I’d tried gospel, hip hop, all kinds of music and could never find my niche. And I’m basically an introvert so I was scared, but my nieces were there. What kind of example would I be if I didn’t do it? How can I tell them to pursue their dreams if I’m too afraid to follow mine?”

Armour took the stage and sang the classic “Autumn Leaves,” filling in with scatting when she got lost in the moment and couldn’t remember the words. The scatting became a means of finding her voice, and her on stage persona, the Mad Scatter, became a way for her to more comfortably take the stage and sing to an audience.

“From there it just took off. I started working with Eric Clancy, who had taught Alicia. I sort of think of him as my jazz uncle, and Alicia is my jazz aunt. She really took me under her wing and has been such a mentor to me.”

Along the way she started her own record label and has been releasing singles digitally. Her first, “Wrong Turn,” featured Pyle while her more recent release, “This Love,” features Clancy.

Another collaborator, bassist Michael Patterson, joins her for her upcoming single, “A Mother’s Love,” which will be available at the end of April. She joins Patterson’s sister, Joanna Patterson, at Wunderkammer for a performance on Sunday, May 26. She hopes to have summer dates to announce in the weeks ahead. She also hopes to have a CD release later this year.

Armour’s music and schedule can be found at madscattermusic.com.

“When we get out more in the summer season, I’ll have a CD available because even though a lot of people only access music digitally, some of my fans still like a hard copy. I want to make my music accessible to everyone in whatever format they feel most comfortable with.”

Many will relate to Armour’s lyrics in “A Mother’s Love,” a song she dedicates to her young sons, ages 17 and 15, and her daughter, who turns 13 this year. She also juggles a job as a data analyst, runs a record label and finds any chance to perform. She credits Pyle with helping her find her way back to music and giving her the confidence to perform again.

“I don’t think I’ve had any other experience that’s been this comforting or gratifying. For an introvert like me to become the Mad Scatter and feel confident performing and writing music, it’s been incredible. I could not have accomplished it without Alicia helping me the way she has.”