|Occupations||Singer, Promoter, Club Manager|
Christine Tobin is an Irish born jazz singer from Dublin who has been part of the London jazz and improvising scene since the second half of the 1980s. She has been influenced by a diverse range of singers and writers including Betty Carter, Bessie Smith, Leonard Cohen, and poets WB Yeats, Paul Muldoon and Eva Salzman. She has established a reputation as a unique presence on the jazz scene with original songs, style and interpretative or original lyrics.
Tobin began singing seriously in her early 20s. She discovered jazz through hearing the Joni Mitchell album Mingus, which led her to purchase the Charles Mingus album Mingus Ah Um and then other jazz albums. She moved to London in 1987 and sang in a band with Jean Toussaint, Jason Rebello, Alec Dankworth and Mark Taylor before studying jazz at the Guildhall School of Music in 1988 and 1989. While at Guildhall, she formed a band with pianist/professor Simon Purcell, double bassist Steve Watts and drummer Phil Allen. Purcell encouraged Tobin to write lyrics for his tunes and set her on the path to writing her own material. She took a break from singing in 1990 to study anthropology at Goldsmiths College for two years.
Tobin was a singer with the band Lammas for 10 years, led by saxophonist Tim Garland and guitarist/poet Don Paterson. In 1993 she formed a new band with pianist Huw Warren, bassist Steve Watts and drummer Roy Dodds, recording the first two albums, Aliliu and Yell of the Gazelle, of seven on the Babel Label with them. She then met guitarist Phil Robson with whom she has formed a strong musical relationship. Her album sleeves are usually designed by Gee Vaucher and she has also worked with other members of Last Amendment including Penny Rimbaud.
During 2008, she toured England performing her album Secret Life of a Girl, her first since Romance and Revolution in 2004 and the seventh to be released on the Babel label, with her band of pianist Liam Noble, cellist Kate Shortt, guitarist Phil Robson, bassist Dave Whitford, percussionist Thebe Lipere and drummer Simon Lea. She later won the Best Vocalist Award at the BBC Jazz Awards 2008.
In 2010 Tobin released a CD Tapestry Unravelled, a duo with pianist Liam Noble. This is mostly the songs from Carole Kings 1971 Tapestry album with one Tobin original, Closing time.
In 2012 Tobin released Sailing to Byzantium, an album of her settings of the poems of W.B. Yeats. Jazzwise magazine reviewed the album and said "Christine Tobin has created an unqualified masterpiece."
- Aililiu (Babel, 1995)
- Yell Of The Gazelle (Babel, 1996)
- House Of Women (Babel, 1998)
- Deep Song (Babel, 2000)
- You Draw The Line (Babel, 2003)
- Romance And Revolution (Babel, 2004)
- Secret Life Of A Girl (Babel, 2008)
- Tapestry Unravelled (Trail Belle Records, 2010)
- Sailing to Byzantium (Trail Belle Records, 2012)
- A Thousand Kisses Deep Forthcoming release due March 2014
As guest performer
- What am I Here For? (Don Rendell, 1993)
- Lovers And Strangers (Hans Koller, 2001)
- Stability (Clark Tracey, 2001)
- Savage Utopia - Crass Agenda, 2004 (Babel Label/Exitstencil)
- Penny Rimbaud's 'How?' - Crass Agenda, 2004 (Babel Label)
- You're My Thrill - Peter Herbert, 2004 (Between The Lines)
- Remembering Nick Drake (Nick Smart's Black Eyed Dog, 2005)
- Introducing Barry Green (Barry Green, 2006)
- Six Strings & The Beat (Phil Robson, 2008)
- The Music of B B Cooper (Ian Shaw)
- Lammas (Lammas 1991)
- This Morning (1993)
- The Broken Road (1995)
- Sourcebook (1997)
- Sea Changes (1999)
- Red, White & Blues (2003) A film about the 60's UK blues boom directed by Mike Figgis. Christine performs with Humphrey Lyttelton
- Derby Jazz Week - Promo DVD cover mount from Jazzwise magazine. Contains interview and performance of Brandy and Scars
- Best Vocalist Award - BBC Jazz Awards 2008.
- British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors 2012 for best Contemporary Jazz Composition.
- Grant from the PRS Foundation for music 2012.
- Herald Angel award for A Thousand Kisses Deep at Edinburgh Fringe 2013
- "Christine Tobin to tour Secret Life of a Girl". Jazzwise (London: Jazzwise Publication Ltd) (118): 5. April 2008.
- Prange, Carina (3 August 2000). "Christine Tobin - "Singing as a learning process to get the right balance"". Jazzdimensions. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
- May, Chris (January 2, 2006). "Christine Tobin: Romancing the Radical". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
- "Tobin wins best BBC jazz vocalist". BBC News (BBC). 22 July 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-17.