Norma Winstone

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Norma Winstone

Norma Winstone.jpg
Winstone in 2007
Background information
Birth nameNorma Short
Born (1941-09-23) 23 September 1941 (age 77)
Bow, London, England
Occupation(s)Singer, lyricist
Years active1960s–present

Norma Ann Winstone MBE (born 23 September 1941) is an English jazz singer and lyricist. In a career spanning more than 50 years she is best known for her wordless improvisations.


Born as Norma Short in Bow, East London,[1] she began singing in bands around Dagenham in the early 1960s, before joining Michael Garrick's band in 1968. Her first recording came the following year, with Joe Harriott. In 1971 she was voted top singer in the Melody Maker Jazz Poll. She recorded the album Edge of Time under her own name in 1972.[2] Winstone contributed vocals to Ian Carr's Nucleus on that band's 1973 release Labyrinth, a jazz-rock concept album based on the Greek myth about the Minotaur.

Winstone has worked with many major European musicians and visiting Americans, as well as with most of her peers in British jazz, including Garrick, John Surman, Michael Gibbs, Mike Westbrook and her former husband, the pianist John Taylor. With Taylor and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler she performed and recorded three albums for ECM as a member of the trio Azimuth between 1977 and 1980; their fifth and last album How It Was Then… Never Again was given four stars by DownBeat magazine. In addition, she made albums with the American pianists Jimmy Rowles (Well Kept Secret, 1993) and Fred Hersch.

In February 2018, Winstone released Descansado: Songs for Films, a collection that AllMusic described as "an unusual and provocative album".[3]

Awards and honors[edit]


  • Hum-Dono (with Joe Harriott, Ian Carr and others; Columbia, 1969; re-released on CD by Vocalion 2014)
  • Edge of Time (recorded 1970; Decca, 1972; CD release on Disconforme and again in 2013 on Dusk Fire)
  • Somewhere Called Home (ECM, 1986)
  • Well Kept Secret (with Jimmy Rowles, piano; recorded 1993, Hot House, 1995; re-released on Sunnyside in 2017)
  • Manhattan in the Rain (with Steve Gray, piano, Chris Laurence, bass, Tony Coe, tenor sax & clarinet; Enodoc, 1998)
  • Like Song, Like Weather (with John Taylor, piano; Koch Jazz, 1999; re-released on Sunnyside in 2017)
  • 4 in Perspective (with Fred Hersch, piano, Kenny Wheeler, trumpet & flugelhorn, Paul Clarvis, percussion; Village Life, 2000)
  • Chamber Music (with Glauco Venier, piano, and Klaus Gesing, sop. sax and bass clarinet; EmArcy, 2003)
  • Songs & Lullabies (with Fred Hersch, piano; Sunnyside, 2003)
  • Amoroso...Only More So (with Stan Tracey trio and Bobby Wellins; Trio Records, 2007)
  • Distances (with Glauco Venier and Klaus Gesing; ECM, 2008)
  • Stories Yet to Tell (with Glauco Venier and Klaus Gesing; ECM, 2010)
  • Dance Without Answer (ECM, 2013)
  • Descansado: Songs for Films (ECM, 2018)

With Azimuth

With Eberhard Weber

With Kenny Wheeler


  1. ^ Odeen-Isbister, Sara, "Jazz star Norma Winstone on growing up in Dagenham", Barking and Dagenham Post, 5 October 2012.
  2. ^ Lock, Graham (1994). Chasing the Vibration. Devon: Stride Publications. pp. 77–81. ISBN 1-873012-81-0.
  3. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Descansado: Songs for Films - Norma Winstone - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  4. ^ "BBC report on Queen's Birthday Honours" (PDF). BBC News. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  5. ^ Chilton, Martin, "Norma Winstone is jazz vocalist of the year", The Telegraph, 11 March 2015
  6. ^ "2015 Gold Badge Award Recipients Revealed", M Magazine, 16 September 2015

External links[edit]