9 September 2020 Music News Recommends

Barbara Thompson LIVE AT THE BBC—14 X CD BOX SET


It is with great pleasure that Repertoire Records announce the release of LIVE AT THE BBC. A mammoth FOURTEEN CD  box set celebrating the music of the great Barbara Thompsom MBE, on Friday, September 25th 2020.

This lavish set includes material ranging from a live concert by the New Jazz Orchestra, introduced by  Humphrey Lyttelton, in February 1969, to a set by Paraphernalia, featuring Barbara’s late husband  Jon Hiseman (drummer with The Graham Bond Organisation and founder-member of Colosseum) and  keyboard player Peter Lemer, dating from June, 1990.

The set contains such rarities as a set of compositions by Mike Taylor, broadcast in 1969 as a tribute following his then-recent death; Improvisations for Octet and Strings (1970); Five Movements for Jazz Ensemble (1971), conducted by Neil Ardley and introduced by Ian Carr; several broadcasts from the mid-1970s by Jubiaba; and many sets by Paraphernalia, in its various forms including a complete broadcast live from Holland Park, mastered to the highest level, with extensive liner notes by celebrated jazz critic, broadcaster and saxophonist Dave Gelly MBE.

The release of LIVE AT THE BBC ushers in a particularly active period for Barbara Thompson; not only is her much-anticipated autobiography due to be published soon via Jazz In Britain, but there is also a new album due for release in early 2021 by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO).

Here, in Barbara’s own words,  is  a brief outline of what to  expect: “The 10-track album of my compositions will feature up-and-coming  musicians such as Tom Ridout, finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2016 Jazz Award, on sax and his sister, flugelhorn player Alexandra Ridout, who won the jazz award for BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2016. They perform among other fantastic young players. My daughter Ana will be singing In Memory, my piece adapted from Love Songs in Age for Paraphernalia, alongside Colosseum’s Safe as Houses, which Jon and I co-wrote. I’m delighted that Peter’s son, the exceptionally talented Ru Lemer, was able to be involved as  producer and sound engineer, making this truly a family affair.”

Barbara Thompson will also feature in an edition of 24 hours in A&E on Channel 4, broadcast on Thursday, 8th October, at 9 pm. The TV programme acknowledges Barbara’s ongoing battle with Parkinson’s Disease, but more pertinently addresses a new heart condition, and touches upon the untimely death of her husband Jon Hiseman in 2018.

The programme looks at the experience of two other patients, Barbara’s segment is narrated by her daughter, Ana Gracey. This very poignant episode puts focus on this new threat to her health, but also celebrates the force of nature that she has been throughout her life and career, including footage from her Live ’05 DVD, and even features a brief segment playing her soprano at home. This incredible dynamism is in full effect in the music contained within Live at the BBC, and in her autobiography.


Barbara Thompson