Courtney Pine

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Courtney Pine
Courtney Pine by Augustas Didzgalvis.jpg
Background information
Born (1964-03-18) 18 March 1964 (age 59)
OriginLondon, England
Instrument(s)Saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, electronic wind instrument (EWI), keyboards
Years active1986–present

Courtney Pine, CBE (born 18 March 1964), is a British jazz musician, who was the principal founder in the 1980s of the black British band the Jazz Warriors.[1] Although known primarily for his saxophone playing, Pine is a multi-instrumentalist, also playing the flute, clarinet, bass clarinet and keyboards. On his 2011 album, Europa, he plays almost exclusively bass clarinet.[2]


Pine's parents were Jamaican immigrants,[3] his father a carpenter and his mother a housing manager. As a child, he wanted to be an astronaut. Born in London, Pine lived in the ‘Avenues’ area of Kensal Green in north-west London, before moving to Wembley and attending Kingsbury High School, where he studied classical clarinet, teaching himself the saxophone from the age of 14.[4] He began his music career playing reggae, touring in 1981 with Clint Eastwood & General Saint.[5]


In 1986 Pine's debut album Journey to the Urge Within entered the UK Top 40.[6] One of his early bands was Grand Union Orchestra and he featured on their 1986 album The Song of Many Tongues, written by Tony Haynes.[7][8] He is the principal founder of the seminal black British big band the Jazz Warriors, which he established in 1985 through the community organisation "The Abibi Jazz Arts" (TAJA).[9] The Jazz Warriors developed out of the Abibi All-Stars community band that did a series of performances at London's Royal Festival Hall foyer during the summer of the International Youth Year 1985. The Jazz Warriors recorded two albums under Pine's leadership: Out of Many, One People, which was released on the Antilles division of the Island Records label in 1987, and Afropeans, which was released on Pine's own label, Destin-e Records, for their 20th anniversary in 2007.[10] The Jazz Warriors Afropeans project was commissioned by the Arts Council of England to commemorate the bicentennary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.[11] Thirty years after Pine planted his idea to start the Jazz Warriors, he put together the "Venus Warriors" all-female jazz band for a charity performance[12] to raise awareness of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal,[13] which was established to erect a statue of the British-Jamaican Crimean War business woman and nurse outside of London's St Thomas's Hospital.

His recent music integrates modern British music like drum and bass and UK garage with contemporary jazz styles. He runs his own band and integrates many contemporary musicians in his performances. He also presents Jazz Crusade on BBC Radio 2, the seventh series of which was broadcast during spring 2007.

In 1988 he appeared as himself in a jazz quartet in the Doctor Who serial Silver Nemesis.

After losing his record contract, in 1989 Pine appeared on stage with the Pet Shop Boys at Wembley Arena.[14] He played saxophone on the closing portion of their single, Nothing Has Been Proved.

Pine was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2000, and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours for services to jazz music.[15] He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Westminster on 6 December 2004. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Southampton on 15 July 2010.

Pine appeared in August 2008 as an advocate for Pierre Boulez, on the BBC World News classical music programme Visionaries.[16]

On Christmas Day 2018 Pine appeared on BBC Two's Merry Christmas Baby - with Gregory Porter & Friends.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Pine lives in London with his wife and their four children.[18]



As leader

As sideman


  • "Children of the Ghetto" (1986) (Courtney Pine featuring the vocal of Susaye Greene)
  • "Like Dreamers Do" (1988) – UK No. 26 (Mica Paris featuring Courtney Pine)
  • "I'm Still Waiting" (1990) – UK No. 66 (Courtney Pine featuring Carroll Thompson)[19]
  • "Get Busy" (1992), produced by Gussie Clarke – 12" vinyl, CD single
  • "Too Much To Lose" (1999) – Elkie Brooks, featuring Courtney Pine
  • "Lady Day (& John Coltrane)" (2000) – Courtney Pine featuring Lynden David Hall


  • Traditions Beckoning – 10" limited edition (1988)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 954. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ Burrell, Ian (12 November 2010). "Courtney Pine – 'I became one of the most hated saxophonists of all time' (interview)". The Independent. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  3. ^ "Profile: Courtney Pine". BBC News. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  4. ^ Maya Jaggi, "Fusion visionary", The Guardian, 30 September 2000.
  5. ^ "Courtney Pine: The Cosmic Dread", BBC World Service, 8 March 2001.
  6. ^ Courtney Pine interview by Pete Lewis, Blues & Soul, May 2008.
  7. ^ "Communism and Jazz (Side B)". Brave New Classics. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  8. ^ Jazz, All About (9 November 2014). "Grand Union Orchestra: Grand Union Orchestra: The Song of Many Tongues album review @ All About Jazz". All About Jazz. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  9. ^ Jazz Warriors (1987). Out of Many, One People, Antilles Records AN8712
  10. ^ "Courtney Pine Jazz WarriorsAfropeans". Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Jazz Warriors: Jazz Warriors: Afropeans". All About Jazz. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Courtney Pine presents Venus Warriors | HIDEAWAY – London's premier live music and comedy club". Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  13. ^ "MARY SEACOLE MEMORIAL STATUE APPEAL". Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Courtney Pine: 'Carrying my instrument home each day made me feel better about myself'". The Guardian. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  15. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 8.
  16. ^ "". Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  17. ^ "BBC iPlayer - Watch BBC Two live". BBC iPlayer.
  18. ^ Philby, Charlotte (8 August 2009). "My Secret Life: Courtney Pine, jazz musician, 45". The Independent. London. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  19. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 426. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  20. ^ Scheel, Christian. "Courtney Pine and his Band - Nova Concerts International - Booking Agency for Jazz, Worldmusic and Pop". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  21. ^ "Discography". Courtney Pine. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  22. ^ "Latest News". Courtney Pine. Archived from the original on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  23. ^ Courtney Pine: Black Notes from the Deep at AllMusic

External links[edit]