Barbara Thompson Live At The BBC Box Set

Repertoire Records are to release a 14 CD box set of BBC radio broadcasts by Barbara Thompson, described as perhaps the best known jazz artist in the UK – outside of the UK.

This 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.

The box set release ushers in a particularly active period for Barbara – 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.

Barbara 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.

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