Home » Jazz Musicians » Phil Minton

Phil Minton

When he was 15, Phil Minton started trumpet lessons in his home town and then, between 1959 and 1961 played with the Brian Waldron Quintet, the resident group at Torquay Town Hall supporting such acts as the Ted Heath Orchestra and B Bumble and the Stingers. On moving to London he played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Orchestra but in 1964 /65 undertook a residency in Los Palmas, Canary Islands, singing and playing trumpet with the English group Jonston Macphilbry. From 1966 he lived in Sweden for five years. On returning to London in 1971, Phil Minton re-joined Mike Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects up to 1990, touring extensively in Europe and playing at major festivals including Adelaide, Edinburgh, New York, Strasbourg and Berlin. In 1974 Phil Minton began working with experimental theatre groups such as Welfare State and IOU, formed the vocal group Voice with Maggie Nicols and Julie Tippetts in 1975, and from 1976 through the early 1980s he worked solo and in a number of improvising duos with Fred Frith, Roger Turner, Peter Brötzmann and with Günter Christmann's Vario project, touring extensively in Europe and to Russia, the USA and Australia. The improvising duos continued throughout the '80s with a variety of partners and this was mixed with more 'multi-media' work such as Konran Boermer's opera 'Apocalipsis cum figuris', Lindsay Cooper's 'Oh Moscow', Mike Figgis' theatre productions and Sally Potter's film 'Gold', as well as frequent guest appearances with European groups and orchestras. In 1988 Phil Minton was voted best Male Singer in Europe by International Jazz Forum.

Veryan Weston and Phil Minton began their collaboration in 1987 and were commissioned by the Le Mans Festival in 1989 to write and perform Songs from a prison diary, a composition based on the prison writings of Ho Chi Minh for 22 voices. The work was premiered in 1990 and performed at Musica '91 in Strasbourg and awarded the Cornelius Cardew Composition Prize. Further work with Veryan Weston has included Naming the animals with Adrian Mitchell [recorded on Ways past]and, in 1992, Mahkno, a piece for eight voices commissioned by the Taklos Festival, Switzerland. The two musicians regularly play as a duo, including a performance at the Victoriaville Festival in Canada in 1995, and they received a commission from the Angelica Festival in Bologna, Italy which resulted in Past.

Minton continues to work in a wide variety of situations and over the past few years these have included guest appearances with the Georg Graewe's GrubenKlangOrchester, Trio Raphiphi with Radu Malfatti and Phil Wachsmann, a trio with John Butcher and Erhard Hirt, Axon, a trio with Marcio Mattos and Martin Blume, Derek Bailey's Company, and Tony Oxley's Celebration Orchestra (including the performance to celebrate Oxley's 60th birthday in 1998. In 1993 he received an Arts Council Bursary for river run, a composition for voice, piano, percussion and reed instruments inspired by the works of James Joyce. This group, the Phil Minton Quartet or, alternatively, 'river run', has turned into a (moderately) regularly performing ensemble with Veryan Weston, Roger Turner and John Butcher. The Quartet toured Europe in 1996, appeared at the Victoriaville Festival in 1997, touring Germany the same year, undertook an Arts Council- supported tour of the UK in 1998 and appeared at the Vand'Oeurve Festival, and in 1999 played concerts in the US.

Read more


Album Review

Sergio Armaroli: I Dream I Was An European

Read "I Dream I Was An European" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Un disco a suo modo “perfetto," questo di Sergio Armaroli, che si circonda di abituali e splendidi collaboratori come Giancarlo Schiaffini e Roger Turner, vi aggiunge un monumento dell'improvvisazione come Phil Minton, e con loro esegue nove sue composizioni nelle quali l'improvvisazione la fa da padrona. La “perfezione" sta soprattutto nelle individualità, anzi nei colori e nelle espressività che ciascuna di esse porta in dote: due percussioni timbricamente opposte e dalle invenzioni complementari, il vibrafono di Armaroli e ...

Album Review

Phil Minton / Pat Thomas / Dave Tucker / Roger Turner: Scatter: On A Clear Day Like This

Read "Scatter: On A Clear Day Like This" reviewed by John Sharpe

Recorded on the first night of a Pat Thomas residency at north London's Cafe Oto, On A Clear Day Like This by the collective Scatter demonstrates the breadth of the pianist's artistry, following as it did an opening set of Duke Ellington tunes. Aside from Thomas, who founded the group in 1992 and performs on piano and electronics, the outfit comprises three further luminaries in Phil Minton on voice (he does so much more than the term vocalist would suggest), ...

Album Review

King Übü Örchestrü 2021: Roi

Read "Roi" reviewed by John Eyles

The large improvising ensemble King Übü Örchestrü first saw the light of day when they recorded their debut album, Music Is Music Is (Uhlklang, 1985) in Akademie der Künste, Berlin, in December 1984. It was a sign of the times that their trumpeter Mark Charig was prevented from going to Berlin for the recording. But, with players such as drummer Paul Lytton, trombonist Radu Malfatti, cellist Alfred Zimmerlin and violinist Phillipp Wachsmann in the line-up, the music was exceptional. Two ...

Album Review

Speak Easy: @ Konfrontationen

Read "@ Konfrontationen" reviewed by John Eyles

Recorded in July 2016, at Festival Konfrontationen in Nickelsdorf, Austria, this album consists of a single track lasting fifty-two minutes, which probably represented the entire Speak Easy set at the festival. Speak Easy comprises vocalists Ute Wasserman and Phil Minton, with Thomas Lehn on analogue synthesizer and Martin Blume on drums and percussion. The quartet previously released Backchats (Creative Sources, 2009), the same year its DVD The Loft Concert was issued (see YouTube below.) As Wasserman ...

Live Review

4th Brda Contemporary Music Festival

Read "4th Brda Contemporary Music Festival" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Fesstival di Musica Creativa e Improvvisata Šmartno, Slovenia 11-13.9.2014 È giunto alla quarta edizione il Brda Contemporary Music Festival, piccola quanto preziosa rassegna di “musica creativa e improvvisata" organizzata a Šmartno, nella regione slovena di Brda, da Zlatko Kaucic, percussionista, compositore, didatta e operatore culturale ricco di passione e idee. Il festival, com'è noto, nasce anche per unire le forze di tutti i--molti--musicisti attivi sulle due sponde della frontiera che separa, oggi fortunatamente assai meno che ...

Film Review

Im Pavillon

Read "Im Pavillon" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

Phil Minton / dieb13 Im Pavillon PanRec 2013 The mini DVD feature the complete duo concert of British vocal artist Phil Minton and Austrian turntables master dieb 13 (aka Dieter Kovačič}, filmed at the Music Unlimited Festival 23, Wels in Austria in November 2009. PanRec, a video label that focuses on jazz and improvised music, already dedicated a whole documentary film to the festival, Unlimited 23 (2011). Minton has been a frequent performer ...

Album Review

Rhodri Davies / Michel Doneda / Louisa Martin / Phil Minton / Lee Patterson: Midhopestones

Read "Midhopestones" reviewed by John Eyles

This album was recorded in January 2009 in the church of St. James the Lesser, in the village of Midhopestones near Sheffield, South Yorkshire--hence, its intriguingly uplifting title (incidentally, its track titles refer to other villages or features nearby). Maybe that recording location explains the sense of tranquility and beauty that pervades the music here. It seems as if all five players were on their best behavior as they were in church; everyone gets along well together; there is no ...

Read more articles


Phil Minton - No Doughnuts in Hand (Emanem)

Phil Minton - No Doughnuts in Hand (Emanem)

Source: Master of a Small House

Phil Minton's music practically mandates first person response. Burying the “I" in a review is a hard thing to do from the onset. Reaction to his work is frequently polemical with one person's vocal abuses occupying the same aural space as another's expansions. Minton doesn't appear to be especially bothered either way by potential controversy. His laconic liner notes on this third entry in his solo series endearingly lay out his up-to-the-minute reasoning: “I know things aren't getting better, but ...


Music Industry

Phil Minton - A Doughnut in One Hand (FMP)

Phil Minton - A Doughnut in One Hand (FMP)

Source: All About Jazz



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


FMR Records


I Dream I Was An...



@ Konfrontationen

Confront Recordings






Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.