Playing in duo with well travelled highly tasteful and scandalously underknown Derry guitarist Tommy Halferty the great English jazz singer Norma Winstone is to play a couple of gigs in Ireland next month.

First up the duo will appear at the Irish Times jazz critic drummer Cormac Larkin’s Sofa Sessions in Kilkenny City pub Billy Byrnes on 5 July; and then in the plush Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel the following night in Killiney, south county Dublin.

Winstone’s latest album Descansado: Songs For Film was released back in the winter in a familiar reeds and piano trio that the singer has favoured in recent years on a studio album recorded in Italy, the film composers selected including the work of The Godfather composer Nino Rota, Michel Legrand (les Parapluies de Cherbourg), and the Alfred Hitchcock composer, Bernard Herrmann.

Winstone has the uncanny gift of singing standards, or what sound like standards given her craft, often her own lyrics decorating her or others’ songs (famously Jimmy Rowles’ ‘The Peacocks’ for example) and yet in the process creating an experimental world of her own, more a poetic completely sealed in artist and listener environment, a forensic calm and sense to her singer-as-observer meditations at play.

Kenny Wheeler above left, Norma Winstone and John Taylor. Photo: ECM

In her early career Winstone played in groups led by pianist Michael Garrick and avant composer Mike Westbrook. In the groundbreaking Azimuth, with her late former husband John Taylor and the late Kenny Wheeler, she came to international attention and achieved sustained acclaim. A winner of best vocalist at the now defunct BBC Jazz Awards she was Grammy nominated for her beautiful 2009 album, Distances. SG

Further reading see a marlbank 2014 Norma Winstone interview. Top: from Songs and Lullabies (Sunnyside, 2003) accompanied by Fred Hersch, who will play the 2018 Cork Jazz Festival.