Although streaming has become one of the most popular methods for listening to music, there are still some outliers who feel that streaming can’t provide a hi-fi listening experience. Luckily, a handful of companies have responded to these naysayers by developing services that provide high-resolution files you can stream and download.
Below, you’ll find a list of the best hi-fi streaming services that are currently available. Each service provides its own unique take on high quality music streaming by offering different bells and whistles. The best way to know which one is right for you is to visit the sites below and start a free trial or two.
The Best Hi-Fi Music Streaming Service
Leading the pack, we have the audiophile-approved streaming service Qobuz. Since 2008, Qobuz has been dedicated to digital streaming for the most discerning listeners out there. They also provide high quality digital downloads for those who aren’t completely sold on streaming.
Qobuz Studio offers studio quality streaming of over 90 million tracks, original editorial content, and offline listening. Qobuz Sublime offers the same, but also includes discounts of up to 60% on hi-res file purchases. Each plan has three options: solo, duo, and family. That means you can add up to six accounts under one subscription. If you’re looking for some of the highest quality streaming and digital download options available, then you’ll definitely want to learn more about Qobuz.
Amazon Music offers a high-quality streaming audio option called Amazon Music Unlimited. The service includes high definition streaming of over 100 million songs and exclusive albums that can be streamed in “Ultra HD.”
Tidal has become known for their “master quality authenticated” music streaming and the innovative audio formats included with their hi-fi plus plan. The plan also directs up to 10% of your subscription costs to the artists you listen to most.
Most Apple Music plans include lossless audio and you can experience immersive sound with the service’s Dolby Atmos technology. The compatibility with Siri and devices like the Apple Watch make Apple Music a convenient option for many music fans.
Like the other services, Deezer’s premium option offers high-fidelity FLAC files and various recommendation tools for discovering new music. The flow tool curates personalized playlists and the songcatcher feature will help you track down songs you don’t know the name of.
Andrea Vicari interviewed pianist James Pearson ahead of his Dudley Moore and Burt Bacharach tribute performances at the wonderful Music@Malling festival this coming weekend. You can listen to the interview at these times:
The term “one-hit wonder” can be a thorny subject for many people. There are numerous artists pegged with that term who actually had other successes, but the one song that defined them to the mainstream has overshadowed everything else. There are other people who legitimately just had one hit and then were never heard from again, at least on a commercial level. After years of one-hit wonders being played endlessly on video channels and classic rock radio – plus, September 25 is National One-Hit Wonder Day – it’s about time to look into one-hit wonders who had at least one other song that was good. There are quite a number of them. Many of the people selected here continued their careers long after that singular sensation.
In determining my criteria for this particular feature, I bounced ideas off of my music industry friend Alex Vitoulis, who knows his charts inside and out. There are many artists who had one big hit and another minor Top 40 single or who had popular club or radio tracks, which made picking the “one-hit wonders” for this story tricky. In the end, I decided that I would select artists with one big hit and nothing else that cracked the Top 30 in sales because honestly, even a minor Top 40 hit never makes the same impact as a chart-topper. I’m not talking about song quality here, just mainstream awareness.
The choices were made across genres and decades. There are way more songs and artists that could have been included here. I selected tunes and artists I thought were interesting, and I did not exclude overseas artists who were bigger in their homeland than they were in America; I feel that more Americans need to know about them. Further, there are artists that we peg as one-hit wonders who actually had more than one successful song, including the likes of A-Ha, Kim Carnes, and Eddy Grant, so they did not qualify for this list.
The main purpose of this feature is to legitimately show that there were artists that had more than one exceptional tune, some of who were on the verge of being bigger and deserve more attention than they received. Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious songs for signs of true talent.
Even if you scoff at the concept of one-hit wonders, just remember: That’s one more hit than you or I will ever get.
“Key Key Karimba” by Baltimora (1987)
Baltimora will forever be known to ’80s music fans for their hit “Tarzan Boy” and its chanting chorus, but they produced other songs that are equally fun. “Key Key Karimba” is one of those tunes, working off a moody chord progression that builds to an uplifting children’s choir in the chorus with a video chronicling a transition from childhood to adulthood. Surprisingly, it didn’t chart outside of their native Italy. The extended dance mix that is on Spotify feels a bit more upbeat, and this shorter album version is the superior one.
“Over My Head” by Toni Basil (1983)
It’s easy to call Toni Basil a one-hit-wonder based on the phenomenal success of “Mickey.” She had other good songs, including this synth-driven follow-up which was a Top 10 club track. Many people don’t realize that her dancing and choreography career beginning in the 1960s as she worked with the likes of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and The Monkees. She also acted opposite Jack Nicholson in the film Five Easy Pieces (1970). Her career beyond music is really impressive, and today in her seventies, she can still dance circles around you. Really, just watch any of her videos to catch more of her moves.
“Angel to You (Devil to Me)” by The Click Five (2005)
This Boston quintet married both early ’60s and early Millennial pop sensibilities as epitomized by this track. While the romantic single “Just The Girl” was the one that they became known for with their 2005 debut Greetings From Imrie House (the only album to feature original frontman Eric Dill), it’s nowhere near as interesting as this rocker, which delivers big guitars and vocal harmonies in the vein of great ’80s power pop. Appropriately enough, it was co-written by Paul Stanley of KISS fame. It should have gotten more notoriety for sure.
“Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider / Tom Cochrane (1981)
Back in 1991, it was hard to get away from Tom Cochrane’s caffeinated anthem “Life Is A Highway” – the positivity appealed to many and annoyed others. Interestingly, in the previous decade, he fronted the Canadian band Red Rider who had a moody song called “Lunatic Fringe” that hit No. 11 on the rock radio tracks. Because it was used three times in the movie Vision Quest (1985) and the video was shown on MTV, that song qualifies them as a cult one-hit-wonder from that decade. It’s funny that Cochrane later became a one-hit-wonder as a solo artist 10 years later. “Lunatic Fringe” is dramatic, very relevant today, and a way better song than his solo smash.
“Prelude/Nightmare” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968)
While the catchy, electric “Fire” was his lone hit, Arthur Brown was certainly ahead of the heavy metal curve when he released his first album in 1968. The pairing of the eerie “Prelude” and hard rocking “Nightmare” works well, and the latter was performed by Brown in a 1968 movie called The Committee that featured a soundtrack by Pink Floyd. “Nightmare” is a little more aggressive and screechy than “Fire” and definitely an example of solid heavy rock of the era. Brown’s signature flaming headpiece also turned heads back in the day.
“Boys in Town” by Divinyls (1983)
By the time this Aussie band scored their near Top 10 hit “I Touch Myself” in 1991, they had already been active in their native country for a decade. That tune was sexy and poppy but less like their earlier rock oeuvre. The song and video for “Boys un Town” from Divinyls’ debut album show lead singer Chrissy Amphlett in a more aggressive mode. She had a unique stage presence that made her a great frontwoman. Sadly, she passed away from breast cancer in 2013. Another Divinyls song to check out that sonically falls between these two tracks is “Pleasure And Pain” from 1985.
“Streets Of You” by Eagle-Eye Cherry (2018)
The son of jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, this Swedish-born singer-songwriter scored a Top 5 smash with the uptempo “Save Tonight” in 1997, which also hit eight other Billboard charts and helped pushed his debut album, Desireless, past platinum. While he had some moderate singles success overseas after that, Cherry never scored another U.S. hit. He’s kept making music, and the title track to his 2018 album is a heartfelt ballad about letting go of a relationship and moving on. It deserved a lot more airplay and success than it received, and the video is poignant too.
“Beauty On The Fire” by Natalie Imbruglia (2001)
When model and actress Natalie Imbruglia burst on the scene with her cover of Ednaswap’s “Torn” in 1997, it seemed like she was going to be the next big pop thing especially after she snagged three Grammy nominations for her debut Left of the Middle. For some reason, things never really panned out here, although her follow-up release White Lilies Island was a superior effort. The songs had more character and were a little bolder. “Wrong Impression” is a poppy love anthem with personality, “That Day” is raw and jangly, while “Beauty On The Fire” is a dreamy electro-pop tune which further showcases her emotional range.
“Stars” by Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma (1992)
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is certainly one of those quintessential feel-good ’80s hits whose massive success was not anticipated. It was the first a capella song to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart back in 1988, and it won three Grammy Awards including Song of the Year. In truth, McFerrin was known among jazz circles for his beautiful singing, vocal acrobatics, and vocal body percussion, which he applied to many different compositional styles. The romantic “Stars” is a tune that appeared on his collaborative album Hush with classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma, which they released in 1992, and it helps to showcase his diversity especially in light of the one novelty song that everybody knows.
“Still Got This Thing” by Alannah Myles (1989)
“Black Velvet” was a massive No. 1 and Grammy-winning hit for Canadian singer Alannah Myles in 1989. She took a well-worn blues groove and worked in a glorious vocal to maximum effect, and there are a couple of other tracks on her platinum-selling debut album that also stand out. While the poppier “Love Is” just managed to crack the Top 40, “Still Got This Thing” rocks more and is another good example of her taking a standard blues-rock progression and elevating it with a strong performance. Fun fact: She dueted with former Rainbow singer Joe Lynn Turner on Nikolo Kotzev’s Nostradamus rock opera back in 2001.
“Change Your Ways” by Rockwell (1984)
The one song that everybody remembers from Rockwell is the cheeky paranoid tune “Somebody’s Watching Me” which featured Michael Jackson singing so prominently in the choruses that it prompted some people to think that this was a song from the King of Pop. Rockwell also scored a low Top 40 follow up with the silly “Obscene Phone Caller”. But with its wailing electric guitar as an anchor, “Change Your Ways” is more interesting and also shows that the son of Motown mogul Berry Gordy was a good, serious singer. “Runaway” is also a decent slice of electro-driven pop from back in the day.
“Send Me a Postcard” by Shocking Blue (1968)
Gen X-ers know “Venus” through Bananarama’s cover which was No. 1 hit for them and for Shocking Blue back in 1970. However, that earlier group had several Top 10 hits in France, Belgium, Norway, and their native Holland and racked up substantial sales throughout Europe during the early ’70s. This earlier tune is edgier, more dissonant, and a nice addition to their canon. Ladytron covered it back in 2003. Nirvana fans have heard their cover of Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz,” which was their first single, appearing on their debut album Bleach and in the 1995 movie Mad Love starring Drew Barrymore.
“Misery” by Barrett Strong (1961)
Those same Gen X-ers likely know “Money (It’s What I Want)” from Barrett Strong thanks to the Beatles’ version and the off-the-wall New Wave cover by the Flying Lizards in 1979 which featured Deborah Evans-Stickland’s oddly monotone vocal performance. Strong’s original song, the first Motown hit ever, definitely resonated with followers back in the day. Beyond that, his cover rendition of “Misery” is a moody Motown tune worth checking out. Teaming up with producer Norman Whitfield, Strong would go on to co-write hits for Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr, and The Temptations, whose recording of “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” won Strong a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1973. Strong was a one-hit-wonder as a singer but a major hitmaker for others.
“Waiting for the Weekend” by The Vapors (1980)
“Turning Japanese” by The Vapors is one of the catchiest and arguably silliest of the ’80s rock anthems that regularly makes one-hit wonders lists. The group had a rambunctious undercurrent to their music, particularly due to Steve Smith’s bass playing. More romantic in flavor than its seemingly onanistic predecessor, “Waiting For The Weekend” is a fun, catchy number. The British group originally recorded just two albums and lasted from 1978 to 1981, but they reactivated in 2016 and have been playing shows since with a mix of original and new members. They released their third album, Together, this past May.
“Ring of Fire” by Wall of Voodoo (1980)
Wall of Voodoo scored an ’80s cult hit with the quirky “Mexican Radio,” a song that was almost a Top 50 track but which received extensive MTV airplay. They had other tunes that were interesting as well – most notably, this surreal and eerie sounding rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” from their first EP. Cash performed it as an upbeat, horn-laden tune. While this Discogs list features original compositions by other bands as alternates, this cover is really something special and completely fits what Wall of Voodoo were exploring sonically. This version of “Ring Of Fire” also uses electronic pulses in place of percussion, and the feedback-driven guitar solo is unsettling. Oddly enough, the late guitarist Marc Moreland quotes Jerry Goldsmith’s theme to the 1966 spy spoof Our Man Flint, creating a cover within a cover.
“The Race” by Yello (1988; Live in 2016)
While the cheeky “Oh Yeah” by Swiss electronic music duo Yello only hit number No. 51 on the Hot 100 singles chart in America in 1985, its prominent usage in ’80s movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Secret of my Success, and She’s Out of Control made it an unmitigated hit for the band. It was the only one that they had in America. The duo has had more success overseas and produced some of the most unusual songs and videos of the ’80s. Another Yello song that’s been licensed for many film and TV shows in America is “The Race”. The live version is included here because it shows how their electronic sounds became very organic in concert with live percussion and a five-piece horn section. Yello are underrated EDM progenitors who are more interesting than most who followed in their footsteps.
Recipients Announced For 2022 Parliamentary Jazz Awards
The recipients of the 2022 Parliamentary Jazz Awards were announced on Tuesday 5th July at 20:00
The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Group (APPJG) with the support of PizzaExpress Live. The Awards celebrate and recognise the vibrancy, diversity, talent and breadth of the jazz scene throughout the United Kingdom.
The award categories reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene: Jazz Vocalist of the Year; Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year; Jazz Album of the Year; Jazz Ensemble of the Year; Jazz Newcomer of the Year; Jazz Venue of the Year; Jazz Media Award; Jazz Education Award; the Services to Jazz Award.
Lord Parkinson Minister for Arts and DCMS Lords Minister presented the first award to Claire Martin, Vocalist of the Year.
John Spellar MP, Co-Chair of APPJG, said: “These awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the talents and energies of the great musicians, educators, promoters, record labels, jazz organisations, blogs, jazz magazines and journalists who have kept jazz flourishing. These recipients demonstrate the wealth of talent and commitment that exists in the British jazz scene. Now in their 17th year, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards honour the best of British jazz. MPs and Peers in the All Party Group is grateful to PizzaExpress Live for supporting the event.”
Chi Onwurah MP, Deputy Chair of APPJAG: “This has been another really strong year for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in terms of talent and nominations. The well deserved recipients are a veritable who’s who of names that have made a real impact on the music and helped make the UK one of the world’s leading jazz territories”.
The full list of recipients is as follows:
Jazz Vocalist of the Year
Claire Martin OBE
Linn recording artist Claire Martin has to worldwide critical acclaim established herself as a tour de force on the UK jazz scene gaining many awards, including winning the British Jazz Awards eight times during her career which spans over three decades. In 2018 she was the proud recipient of the BASCA Gold Badge Award for her contribution to jazz.
Claire became a professional singer at 19 and two years later realised her dream of singing at Ronnie Scott’s legendary jazz club in London Soho. Signed to the prestigious Glasgow based Linn Records in 1990, Claire has since released 18 CDs with the label, collaborating with musical luminaries including Martin Taylor, John Martyn, Stephane Grappelli, Kenny Barron, Richard Rodney Bennett and Jim Mullen on many of these recordings.
Claire has performed worldwide with her trio and, until his death in 2012, worked extensively with the celebrated composer and pianist Sir Richard Rodney Bennett in a cabaret duo setting both in England and the US where they played to sell-out houses at venues including the prestigious Algonquin Hotel in New York City.
Claire appears as a featured soloist with the Halle Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the RTE Concert Orchestra, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the BBC Big Band and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Claire co-presented BBC Radio 3’s flagship jazz program ‘Jazz Line Up’ from 2000 to 2017 and interviewed many of her musical heroes such as Pat Metheny and the late Michael Brecker. Her 2009 CD a Modern Art prompted Jazz Times USA to claim: “She ranks among the four or five finest female jazz vocalists on the planet”.
At the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2011 Claire was delighted to be awarded an OBE for her Services to Jazz.
Tony Kofi is a British Jazz multi-instrumentalist born of Ghanaian parents, a player of the Alto, Baritone, Soprano, Tenor saxophones and flute. Having ‘cut his teeth’ in the “Jazz Warriors” of the early 90’s, award-winning saxophonist Tony Kofi has gone on to establish himself as a musician, teacher and composer of some authority.
As well as performing and recording with Gary Crosby’s “NuTroop” and “Jazz Jamaica”, Tony’s playing has also been a feature of many bands and artists he has worked/recorded with include “US-3” The World Saxophone Quartet, Courtney Pine, Donald Byrd, Eddie Henderson, The David Murray Big Band, Sam Rivers Rivbe Big band, Andrew Hill Big Band, Abdullah Ibrahim, Macy Gray, Julian Joseph Big band, Harry Connick JR, Byron Wallen’s Indigo, Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s Coltrane Configurations and Ornette Coleman.
His fluent and fiery hard-bop style makes him constantly in demand. He currently leads his own Tony Kofi Quartet, Tony Kofi Sphinx Trio, and Future Passed Trio and is also the co-founder with Jonathan Gee of the Monk Liberation Front, a group that is dedicated to the music of Thelonious Monk. Tony’s latest project sees him performing with Alex Webb’s Café Society Swing, Arnie Somogyi’s Jump Monk, Larry Bartley’s JustUS Quartet, Adrian Reid Quartet, a double leaders project with Alan Barnes called Aggregation, Orphy Robinson’s Bobby Hutcherson songbook project, Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet, Jo Harrop’s Fever, Portrait of Cannonball (Music dedicated to Cannonball Adderley) Tony Kofi and the Organisation, a recent project which he co leads on the Baritone Saxophone.
As well as being a musician, composer and bandleader, Tony also works as a teacher at The Julian Joseph Jazz Academy and The World Heart Beat Music Academy. In September 2020 he started teaching at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and this year was awarded an honorary professorship from Nottingham University.
· Winner of the BBC Jazz Awards 2005 -Album of the Year · Winner of the BBC Jazz Awards 2008 – Best Instrumentalist · Winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2005 – Best Ensemble · Nominee, Mobo Awards 2008 · Winner of the Jack Petchey Foundation Award 2015 · Winner of the Black Achievers Cultural, Music and Arts Award 2016
Described to have won the Young Jazz Musician Award “with great mix of communicativeness, simplicity and sass” and winner of the Jazz FM “Instrumentalist of the Year,” Multi-award winning bassist and composer Daniel Casimir has played a crucial role in the UK Jazz scene.
Since finishing the formal aspect of his musical training, Daniel has had the opportunity of performing with the following artists; Julian Joseph, Jason Rebello, Lonnie Liston Smith, Chihiro Yamanaka, Jean Toussaint, and David Lyttle. In addition to performing with an array of musicians, Daniel has recorded with Nubya Garcia (We Out Here, Nubya’s 5IVE), Binker Golding (abstractions of Reality Past and Incredible Feathers) Camilla George (Isang) Blue Lab Beats, Oscar Jerome and Ashley Henry (Beautiful Vinyl Haunter).
In 2017 Daniel released his first recording as a bandleader Escapee, which was released under Jazz Re:freshed followed by the critically acclaimed album “These Days” in 2019.
London-based composer/bassist, Daniel Casimir returns with his solo debut album “Boxed In”, a dynamic collision of pulsing modern jazz & orchestral instrumentation.
Featuring Casimir’s quintet of fellow British jazz luminaries, including Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, Al Macsween & James Copus, Boxed In astutely bridges traditional and contemporary jazz forms with enveloping strings, woodwind & brass arrangements, but under its intricate musical surface seeks to confront some necessary hard truths.
Led by American-Italian alto-saxophonist/clarinettist Giacomo Smith, and featuring a wide array of young and exciting British jazz talent, including pianist Joe Webb (Haley Tuck, Alaska Alaska}, Will Cleasby on drums (Judi Jackson, Kurt Elling, Banger Factory) and bassist Ferg Ireland (Ashley Henry, Ruby Rushton), Kansas Smitty’s astutely bridge traditional and modern jazz forms in seamless and sublime fashion. Having sold out shows at Ronnie Scott’s and The Jazz Café, and festival appearances including North Sea Jazz and Love Supreme and Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
Emma Rawicz is an award winning young saxophonist and composer, already making waves on the UK music scene. She has been described as ‘a force to be reckoned with’ (Jazzwise) and ‘a fast rising star’ (London Jazz News). At the age of 19 she has already recorded her eagerly awaited debut album featuring Ant Law, made up entirely of her original compositions, due to be released in May 2022. She has also created a name for herself both as a bandleader and a sideman. A new arrival on the scene, she has already made an impact, regularly playing at major London jazz venues with a wide range of established musicians. Emma is a recipient of the 2021 Drake Yolanda Award.
Emma’s influences range from modern jazz and fusion to folk and soul, key figures in her musical development including Chris Potter, Ari Hoenig, Kenny Jarrett, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea and more.
Growing up in rural North Devon, Emma didn’t discover jazz until the age of 15, and didn’t pick up a tenor saxophone until a year later, but had spent her childhood otherwise immersed in largely folk and classical music.
Emma is a natural performer. Her music has a unique sound, fusing all her many influences, and her compositions range from lilting Afro Cuban inspired grooves to hard hitting modern jazz and funk numbers.
The Globe in Newcastle upon Tyne is the first bar and music venue in the UK to be owned by a cooperative committed to music. The Globe was bought in 2014 following a successful community share issue. Over 225 people bought shares and became members of the cooperative, and more are welcome to join. Jazz.Coop provides an extensive range of courses, workshops, jam sessions and projects.
Their determination to keep live music going during the pandemic has been rewarded with a national award. The Globe was declared the Small Community Co-op of the Year 2021.
Dave Parker, co-chair of Jazz.Coop, said, “We’re delighted with this award because it recognises the vision, determination and hard work of members, volunteers and everyone else who helped keep us going during the pandemic, providing income for musicians, employment for staff, and joy for lovers of live music. Eight years ago, The Globe was a failing pub. Today it is an award-winning music venue and learning centre owned and run by a co-operative. We worked with musicians to develop live streaming, and soon decided this was the way forward. The Globe was refurbished, and new equipment was installed by volunteers. We were fortunate in accessing funding from Power to Change and the Culture Recovery Fund.”
Cooperative ownership ensures that The Globe is a place where people can enjoy live music in a relaxed environment and where musicians can share and develop their skills.
Australian-born, London-based, writes for major newspapers and online platforms in the UK and Australia. Jane Cornwell has been the jazz critic for the London Evening Standard from 2014 and one of that newspaper’s two world music critics for over a decade. Jane is the contributing editor of the global music magazine Songlines, and for Australia Jane writes about music and the arts for The Weekend Australian Review, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and more
Jane is the go-to freelancer for the likes of News Limited and Fairfax and a writer of books, press releases, programme notes and copy for a wide range of clients. Jane is a compere and onstage interviewer at festivals including WOMAD and the EFG London Jazz Festival.
In 2019 Jane completed a highly regarded Masters degree in Global Creative and Cultural Industries (Distinction) at SOAS, University of London. Jane’s dissertation on the resurgence of jazz music in London – ‘Jazz Refreshed? A Contemporary Jazz Phenomenon’ – involved research, interviews, robust arguments and new ideas.
Jazz Camp For Girls, Helena Summerfield, Jazz North
Jazz Camp for Girls – led by Helena Summerfield of Jazz North – enables young musicians to experience jazz music and explore improvisation in a supportive environment with expert tuition from professional musicians. Participants will gain new skills and be inspired by learning about – and playing alongside – pioneering women in the jazz industry.
The camps are designed for girls aged between 9 – 15 years old with little or no experience of improvising. All instruments and vocalists are welcome. Camp participants receive a Jazz Camp for Girls handbook filled with interviews, practice tips and more.
The camps took place this year in Doncaster, Hull, Leeds and Trafford across Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th March 2022.
Jazz North is an Arts Council England funded organisation, supporting and developing musicians within the jazz sector. Their mission is to support the sustainable growth of contemporary jazz in the north by developing opportunities for artists and building audiences. For more information about what they do, visit their website.
Services to Jazz Award
Born in High Wycombe in 1936, Mike Westbrook grew up in Torquay and was educated at Kelly College, Tavistock. He formed his first band while studying painting in Plymouth in 1958, moving to London in the early 1960s. He has led and composed for a succession of groups, notably his 1960s Sextet and Concert Band, his Brass Band, formed in the mid-70s, the jazz rock group Solid Gold Cadillac and the Mike Westbrook Orchestra. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, and as far afield as Australia and the Far East, Canada and New York. He has directed performances of his work with big bands in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland and Australia. He has broadcast on radio and TV in many countries, and made over 50 albums.
Mike also gives solo piano concerts. His album PARIS was recorded live in Paris by Jon Hiseman in July 2016. This was followed by STARCROSS BRIDGE in December 2017. He wrote the music for Kate Westbrook’s new album GRANITE and is a member of Kate’s Granite Band. His retrospective album CATANIA was recorded at the three-day Mike Westbrook Music Festival in Catania, Sicily in 1992. His current big band project with The Uncommon Orchestra, PURE GOLD presents a selection of his work from the mid-70s to the present day.
Mike Westbrook was awarded an OBE in 1988 and, in 2004 an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Plymouth. He received an Honorary Fellowship of Plymouth College of Art in 2018.
Mike celebrated his 85th birthday in 2021.(arranged by London Jazz News)
Mike Westbrook first made his mark as a composer with his 1960s recordings for Deram, Celebration, Release and Marching Song, followed by Metropolis for RCA.
Subsequent compositions for Jazz Orchestra include Citadel/Room 315 featuring John Surman, The Cortege, On Duke’s Birthday dedicated to the memory of Duke Ellington, Big Band Rossini which was featured in the 1992 BBC Proms and Chanson Irresponsable, (Enja Records) commissioned by BBC Radio 3, which brings together jazz and classical musicians.
Works for classical ensembles include a saxophone concerto Bean Rows and Blues Shots which was commissioned by the Bournemouth Sinfonietta for John Harle, a score for the silent movie Moulin Rouge commissioned by the Matrix Ensemble, and Classical Blues in 2002 for the BBC Concert Orchestra. Mike’s television music credits include the award-winning BBC drama Caught on a Train by Stephen Poliakoff and directed by Peter Duffell starring Peggy Ashcroft and Michael Kitchen.
His involvement in experimental theatre began in the late 60s with the multi-media work Earthrise, and collaborations with The Welfare State Theatre Company and The Cosmic Circus. His work for the stage includes Adrian Mitchell’s Tyger a celebration of William Blake, staged by the National Theatre in 1971, and Mitchell’s White Suit Blues about Mark Twain. His opera Quichotte commissioned by L’Ensemble Justiniana, toured in France in the 1980s. Coming Through Slaughter, based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje about the New Orleans cornettist Buddy Bolden, was premiered in London in a concert version in 1994.
In collaboration with his wife, singer/librettist Kate Westbrook, he has generated a whole series of jazz/cabarets and music-theatre pieces, notably The Ass, based on the poem by D.H.Lawrence, Pierides commissioned by Extemporary Dance Theatre and Good Friday 1663, a TV opera commissioned by Channel Four with libretto by Helen Simpson. Their 2003 composition Art Wolf commissioned by the Aargauer Kunsthaus, Switzerland, is dedicated to the 18th-century Alpine painter Caspar Wolf.
Mike wrote the music for Kate Westbrook’s album The Nijinska Chamber (voiceprint) pairing Kate’s voice with accordionist Karen Street. Other compositions include two works for voice and acoustic brass, performed by The Village Band,- Waxeywork Show and English Soup or the Battle of the Classic Trifle which premiered in 2008.
Their 2009 album Fine ‘n Yellow was released on the Gonzo label. The Serpent Hit written for voice, percussion and saxophone quartet, was premiered in London in 2011 at Wilton’s Music Hall. The Westbrook’s have also created large-scale concert works incorporating settings of European poetry, as in The Cortege a work for voices and jazz orchestra, and London Bridge Is Broken Down for voice, jazz group and chamber orchestra. Jago, their first full-scale opera, was commissioned by Wedmore Opera in 2000. Their jazz oratorio Turner in Uri, based on the painter Turner’s travels in the Swiss Alps, was premiered in Altdorf and Zurich in 2003. Their opera Cape Gloss – Mathilda’s Story for classical soprano and piano, had its first performance at the University of Plymouth in 2007.
Mike Westbrook’s albums for ENJA Records include The Cortege, Bar Utopia a big-band cabaret with lyrics by Helen Simpson, The Orchestra of Smith’s Academy, compositions recorded ‘live’ by the Mike Westbrook Orchestra and the Steve Martland Band, a tribute to the Beatles Off Abbey Road, and Glad Day settings of the poetry of William Blake. His releases on the Jazzprint label include Platterback with Westbrook & Company, L’ascenseur/The Lift with The Westbrook Trio, Waxeywork Show with The Village Band and a reissue on CD and DVD of Westbrook’s 1980s jazz cabaret Mama Chicago. Reissues on BGO include Citadel/Room 315 and London Bridge is Broken Down, and, on the Swiss label Hatology, On Duke’s Birthday and Westbrook Rossini.
Mike Westbrook returned to big band work with the formation of The Uncommon Orchestra, a 22-piece ensemble based in the South West of England, combining jazz, rock, pop and classical musicians. The orchestra released its first album (on ASC Records) A Bigger Show, a ‘jazz/rock oratorio’ with lyrics written and performed by Kate Westbrook with fellow vocalists Martine Waltier and Billy Bottle. Mike also works regularly in The Westbrook Trio with Kate and saxophonist Chris Biscoe. Forthcoming performances include a revival of The Westbrook Blake, featuring the voices of Kate Westbrook and Phil Minton in a Choral Version of his settings of the poetry of William Blake. Currently the 7-piece Westbrook & Company is presenting a new jazz cabaret Paintbox Jane, inspired by the painter Raoul Dufy.
Barbara was born in Oxford and educated at Queen’s College, Harley Street, London and the Royal College of Music, where she studied clarinet, piano, flute and composition. Whilst retaining a strong interest in classical music, Barbara was captivated by the jazz work of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane and developed a consuming passion for the saxophone.
She formed her own group Paraphernalia in 1977. The band, touring up until 2005, despite Barbara being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1997, became one of the major instrumental attractions on the European concert scene. Barbara’s original and inventive compositions and soaring saxophone and flute improvisations have earned her international acclaim, while the originality of the music has appealed to a wider audience than solely contemporary jazz buffs.
The final Paraphernalia album ‘The Last Fandango’ was released in 2015 and Barbara played her last concert that same year with her husband’s jazz/rock outfit Colosseum. Barbara and drummer and bandleader Jon Hiseman, created their own, wide-ranging world of music. Throughout Europe, their names alone were enough to fill any concert hall. After his tragic death in 2018 she continued composing in the contemporary classical world until her battle with Parkinson’s made this impossible.
Millions throughout the world have heard the sound of her haunting saxophone playing the title theme to the TV Series, ‘A Touch of Frost’ and heard her flute playing on ‘The South Bank Show’ theme that features Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Variations’. In 2020, Barbara Thompson’s critically acclaimed autobiography ‘Journey to a Destination Unknown’ along with a 14CD Box set ‘Live At The BBC’ (Repertoire Records) was released.