Norma Winstone

Norma Winstone
Winstone in 2007
Winstone in 2007
Background information
Birth name Norma Ann Short
Born (1941-09-23) 23 September 1941 (age 79)
Bow, London, England
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active 1960s–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. Her 1987 album Somewhere Called Home was well reviewed by AllMusic, which said: "It's not only a watermark of Winstone's career but, in the long line of modern vocal outings released since the romantic vocal tradition of Fitzgerald and Vaughan ended with free jazz and fusion, the disc stands out as one most original yet idyllic of vocal jazz recordings. ... A must for fans looking for something as cozy as a golden age chanteuse, but without all the gymnastic scatting and carbon copy ways of many a contemporary jazz singer."[3]

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".[4]

Awards and honors


As leader

  • Edge of Time (Argo, 1972)
  • Live at Roncella Jonica with Kenny Wheeler (Izemz/Polis, 1985)
  • Somewhere Called Home (ECM, 1987)
  • M.A.P. wit John Wolfe Brennan (L+R, 1990)
  • Far to Go (Grappa, 1993)
  • Well Kept Secret (Hot House, 1995)
  • Siren's Song with Kenny Wheeler (Justin Time, 1997)
  • Manhattan in the Rain (Sunnyside, 1998)
  • Like Song, Like Weather with John Taylor (Koch, 1999)
  • Songs & Lullabies with Fred Hersch (Sunnyside, 2003)
  • Chamber Music (EmArcy, 2003)
  • It's Later Than You Think with the NDR Big Band (Provocateur, 2006)
  • Children of Time with Michael Garrick (Jazz Academy, 2006)
  • Amoroso... ..Only More So with Stan Tracey (Trio, 2007)
  • Distances (ECM, 2008)
  • Yet Another Spring with Michael Garrick (Jazz Academy, 2009)
  • Stories Yet to Tell (ECM, 2010)
  • Mirrors with Kenny Wheeler (Edition, 2013)
  • Dance Without Answer (ECM, 2014)
  • Descansado: Songs for Films (ECM, 2018)

With Azimuth

As guest

With Eberhard Weber

With Kenny Wheeler

  • Song for Someone (Incus, 1973)
  • Music for Large and Small Ensembles (ECM, 1990)


  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. ^ "AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook".
  4. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Descansado: Songs for Films - Norma Winstone - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  5. ^ "BBC report on Queen's Birthday Honours" (PDF). BBC News. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  6. ^ Chilton, Martin, "Norma Winstone is jazz vocalist of the year", The Telegraph, 11 March 2015
  7. ^ "2015 Gold Badge Award Recipients Revealed", M Magazine, 16 September 2015

External links