Irish-born vocalist and composer Christine Tobin is based in the UK and spends her time between London and the beautiful Kent coast. Her style, although rooted in jazz, is eclectic and draws on a broad range of influences from Ireland to West Africa to Brazil (Oumou Sangare, Elis Regina etc). Her sound is rich, authentic and deeply expressive and was described by the Guardian as “Tobin’s 24 carat voice” while praising her both for the poetry of her compositions and her golden voice. Much of her repertoire is self-penned and Tobin has received many accolades for her skills as a writer and arranger. In 2012 she won a British Composer Award for 'Sailing to Byzantium', her settings of poems by W.B. Yeats and in August 2013 her interpretive powers were brought to the fore when she won a 'Herald Angel Award' at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for her show 'A Thousand Kisses Deep", her imaginative versions of Cohen classics. Also in 2013 she was shortlisted for two Parliamentary Jazz Awards, 'Musician of the Year and 'Album of the Year'. Romantic and radical, Christine is a musical free spirit who blurs the lines to create her own unique style that is streetwise and eclectic. In 2008 she was named Best Vocalist at the BBC Jazz Awards.
Her versatility and musical integrity has ensured that she is a much in demand guest with other bands. She has performed and recorded with a list of diverse creative artists, including musicians Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs, Julian Joseph, Nigel Kennedy, Django Bates, Billy Childs, BBC Big Band, Peter Herbert, Carleen Anderson, Tim Garland, Cleveland Watkiss, Gary Husband, Liam Noble, Billy Hart, actor Gabriel Byrne, film director Mike Figgis and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon.
She recorded seven albums for Babel, one of the UK 's most dynamic and creative indie labels. In a 4 star ****review of her 2008 album “Secret Life Of A Girl” the Guardian wrote “Dublin-born singer Christine Tobin is a jewel of the London jazz scene, streets ahead of the pack... She should be on a global stage, rubbing shoulders with fellow troubadours like Cave, Mitchell and Cohen. [Her] eloquent songs are framed by masterful arrangements...There's no self-indulgence: it's all about the songs”. Jazzwise hail her as "probably the most adventurous jazz singer of her generation in this country, with the ideas and willingness to push back the boundaries and explore new territory with each new album." Since 2010 she has released two highly acclaimed, award winning albums for Trail Belle Records, 'Tapestry Unravelled' and 'Sailing to Byzantium'. Spring 2014 sees the release of her 10th CD 'A Thousand Kisses Deep', a collection of new arrangements of Leonard Cohen songs. This is Christine's salute to one of her all time favourite songwriters and poets.
Christine works regularly on the UK jazz scene, appearing at Ronnie Scott's, The Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, Vortex, The Sage Gateshead and many reputed festivals including the London Jazz Festival, Brecon, Cheltenham and Hull Jazz Festival. She has worked extensively on the international scene appearing at some of the most renowned jazz festivals including Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival U.S., Kongsberg, Shanghai, Varna, Kalisz, Berlin, Rainforest Music Festival Borneo, Sons di Hiver Paris, Molde, Baku, Syria, Haarlem, Frankfurt and Cork International Jazz Festival. Club appearances on the international scene include A-Trane Berlin, a weeks residency at the Half Note, Athens and residencies at the Jamboree, Barcelona.
Her vivid interpretations of Bessie Smith were featured in film director Mike Figgis' Red White and Blues docu/film in the Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues series. These films were commissioned by the PSB channel in the U. S. and screened at cinemas worldwide. Christine has also presented special features for BBC Radio 3’s cutting edge programme Jazz On 3 and appeared regularly on Alyn Shipton’s Jazz Library also for BBC Radio 3. She has contributed to programmes about Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Joni Mitchell and Carmen McRae. In 2012 she presented the award winning documentary 'Out With Paganism and all that Jazz' for RTE Lyric FM.
The Musicians in Christine's bands
Phil Robson guitar As well as being one of the leading jazz guitarists in Europe, Phil is also celebrated as an innovative composer. He is the leader of Six Strings and the Beat, Phil Robson Trio and co leader of Partisans. He also has a trio with U.S. drum legend Billy Hart and bassist James Genus and is a longtime member of the BBC Big Band who he has written and arranged for.
Dave Whitford double bass From Cornwall, this superb double bass player has become one of London’s most in demand musicians for U.K. and visiting international bands. He has played and recorded with Steve Lacy, Kenny Wheeler, Hans Koller Big Band, Marc Copland (U.K. rhythm section) Bobby Wellins and John Taylor. He is also a regular guest with the NDR Bigband in Hamburg.
Liam Noble piano, is one of the UK’s most original and versatile young pianists. After graduating from Oxford he attended London’s Guildhall Jazz Course and has been playing with some of Britain’s finest musicians ever since. He writes and arranges for two of his own bands, one with U.K.musicians, Stan Sulzmann, Chris Biscoe, Mick Hutton and Paul Clarvis. He also plays regularly with Bobby Wellins and Harry Beckett. The other band he leads is an international one with US rhythm section Tom Rainey drums, John Hebert double bass and Phil Robson guitar.
Kate Shortt is a cellist, pianist, songwriter and comedian. Since training as a professional musician at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama she has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe as well as the Hackney Vortex Club, the King's Head Islington, Jermyn Street Theatre and the Covent Garden Festival Club. She recently won Performer of the Year award at the London Palladium. Her show has been described as consisting of "unique happenings at the cello and intimate confessions at the piano". She has also worked as part of Last Amendment (formerly Crass Agenda).
Huw Warren accordion & piano Huw continues to prove himself a richly melodic, unpredictably minimalist and infectiously rhythmic composer besides being a thrillingly lyrical improviser whose unique pan-diversity is regarded highly across the often exclusive worlds of jazz, classical, and folk. He has established an international presence in recent years, as a musical director/pianist for contemporary folk diva June Tabor for well over a decade and for his ongoing work with ex-Austrian Musican of the Year bassist Peter Herbert and NY violin virtuosio improviser Mark Feldman.
Adriano Adewale percussion From Sao Paolo, Brazil, Adriano has made a huge impact on the UK music scene. As well as leading his own group he has worked and recorded with such luminaries as pianist Joanna MacGregor, guitarist Antonio Forcione, the Britten Sinfonia, Seu Jorge and many more.