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Country Dance - Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia

In a musical genre dominated by male instrumentalists, virtuoso jazz saxophonist Barbara Thompson, who died just over a month ago on July 9th, will be sorely missed.

Barbara studied flute, clarinet and piano at the Royal College of Music in the early 60's but then switched to saxophone having been converted to jazz after hearing the records of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane She learned her new trade performing on stage with Neal Ardley's legendary New Jazz Orchestra, where she also met drummer Jon Hiseman who she married in 1967.

Nowadays we are used to seeing women playing in bands, but back in the sixties this was a rarity, and Barbara was a pioneer, her virtuosity hewing a path for the female musicians of the seventies onwards, in all forms of modern music.

Here she is with her own band, Paraphernalia, on the album "Mother Earth", circa 1982, playing her own composition, "Country Dance". After the thrilling violin section by Anthony Oldridge, three minutes in you get a flavour of Thompson at her best, melodic, rhythmic, attacking, jubilant, just so spot on, "nailing it" as the saying goes. Repays repeated listening.


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