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Barbara Thompson

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Biography

As both bandleader and collaborator, British saxophonist and flutist Barbara Thompson has for decades been a key contributor to cutting-edge jazz and jazz-rock ensembles based in her home country as well as continental Europe. With a classical music education at the Royal College of Music, Thompson was nevertheless attracted to the world of jazz, joining Neil Ardley’s New Jazz Orchestra in the mid-‘60s, where she met Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman, whom she married in 1967. (Thompson has also performed and recorded with Colosseum on occasion, and she became a permanent member of the group in 2004.) During the 1970s, Thompson joined the United Jazz + Rock Ensemble (a ten-piece band also featuring Wolfgang Dauner, Ian Carr, Kenny Wheeler, Albert Mangelsdorff, Charlie Mariano, and Hiseman) and formed her own jazz-rock outfit, Paraphernalia, as well as a Latin-flavored ensemble, Jubiaba.

Thompson’s recordings have run the gamut from jazz-rock fusion and modern creative jazz to world and folk musics and even modern classical, and she has also composed music for theater productions (beginning a working relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1978) and for film and television soundtracks. In 1996 Thompson was awarded the rank of MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to music. Thompson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1997, but continued to record and tour into the new millennium, while devoting much of her energies to composing. Her albums during the 2000s have included two releases on Intuition, Barbara Thompson and Friends' In the Eye of a Storm (2003) and Paraphernalia’s Never Say Goodbye (2007).

Top Songs

Birth Name:

Barbara Gracey Thompson

Born:

July 27, 1944 in Oxford, England

Genre
Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Influencers

Contemporaries