Jan Ponsford - voice
Frances Knight - piano, keyboards, accordion
Winston Clifford - drums, backing vocals
Terry Pack - double bass



“Jan Ponsford's low notes have a quality redolent of Joan Armatrading or Cleo Laine, and she shows she has general musical talents equal to either of those ladies. There are several outstanding points in this otherwise inconspicuous local release - points which today's Jenny come - latelys might do well to note. Ponsford is her own woman whether interpreting standards or, as is often the case here, writing her own stuff. Many try the latter but she succeeds in spades, her wistful laments sounding musical and entirely organic, not like sorry imitations or desperate lunges at originality. The trio Frances Knight's ( piano and accordion), Terry Pack ( double bass) and Winston Clifford (drums) are tuned in to the needs of the music too providing entirely apposite accompaniment and meaningful solos. Whether they are the spontaneous results of the groups empathy or prepared in advance, the arrangements are also excellent. Ponsford reins in any ego she may have to leave space for a leisurely and highly effective drums and bass intro to " Agua de Beber" and Knight's appearance on accordion half way through is an unexpected delight. In fact, there are more musical surprises in these tracks than in a slew of loudly feted mayor labels issues. Mr Parkinson look here!”
Jazz Review

The Swimmer
Voice - Jan Ponsford
Frances Knight - piano & accordion
Hugh Hopper - bass
Vince Clarke - drums


"The Swimmer picks up right where 1997's excellent The Mind in the Trees left off, except this time out Elton Dean is on vacation and Jan Ponsford has assumed the daunting task of carrying lead melodic lines. It must have looked good on paper, but it sounds better than I imagined to replace Dean's fluid alto sax lines with a scat vocalist and no lyrical content. So you're unconvinced? The opening piece, "Scat up a tree", denies the presence of a conventional improvisation by adhering to it openly and with balance. Ponsford is literally in the director's chair due to her out front visibility on the deck of this small seaworthy ship. Her navigation skill between each of the poles of the ensemble helps to anchor the at times wistful conversations.......While the disc could be misleadingly characterized as a light weight free jazz album, I'd correct that notion by stating that this is one of the most sensitive dialogues between vocalist and ensemble in quite some time. The disc is a worthy comparison to the set of recordings Norma Winstone recorded with Kenny Wheeler for ECM." - Jeff Milton

Voices - Jan Ponsford, Norma Winstone, Liane Carroll, Jill Francis, Winston Clifford, Anton Browne, Clare Foster, Ian Shaw
Frances Knight - piano 
Belinda Moody - double bass
Paul Clarvis - drums and percussion



“British vocalist/composer Jan Ponsford has been acclaimed as one of the top of the league for a long time, and she’s the kind of singer who repays a lot of serious attention. Her improvisations and compositions have become renowned on the European jazz scene as object lessons in unwavering, independent invention. Creatively rewriting volumes of the jazz song book for twenty years is just the beginning. Jan’s inventive scat singing, devious lyricism and sophisticated writing skills have been heard in all types of settings, from small instrumental groupings and a capella line-ups to Holland’s prestigious Metropol Orkestra. With her powerful, resonant voice, Jan Ponsford constantly pushes forward the boundaries of improvisational technique without ever losing touch with the centring forces of emotion and expression. Her maturity, composure, conviction and devotion of years in the front line tell the audience it’s listening to something that isn’t heard every day.
In Vocal Chords, written for eight vocalists and three instrumentalists, Jan Ponsford has fused a team of individually outstanding singers, whose voices range from the gentlest whisper to a stunning crescendo. She has also recognised, like the greatest of bandleaders down all the decades of jazz, that unique talents must be cut loose, not corralled into inflexible regimens, for music to truly fly.” - John Fordham

Jan Ponsford - voice, music, lyrics
Frances Knight - piano, keyboards
Winston Clifford - drums, 
Belinda Moody - double bass
Tony Coe - soprano sax, clarinet

“[In the Sun] is powerful confirmation of the reputation for classy technique and original material that’s been an undercurrent on the British jazz scene for years. Ponsford’s voice resembles Cleo Laine’s as much as any contemporary performer — a deep, honeyed sound of shimmering textures and unexpected inflections. But she works as an improviser with bands of a like mind, and her music doesn’t coast or avoid the sense of inventive tension between musicians that make orthodox jazz vocals different from supper-club music. The material is original; the styles spanning ballads, boppish scatting, gospelly forcefulness and funk, and the band — which includes the great saxophonist and clarinettist Tony Coe — is both demanding and supportive.
Ponsford mostly inhabits a majestic middle and lower register, and her lyrics are honest and sometimes luminous. The beautiful ballad Adolescence, about a mother’s struggle with the evaporating innocence of childhood (“no angels come around here anymore”), is typical of Ponsford’s gifts, and Coe’s horn weaves gracefully around her.”
John Fordham - The Guardian

"Jan Ponsford has also been down to Delta Studio to record some voice over my loops - that'll be on the next collection. She's a marvel. Great improviser and can also sing great harmonies to songs." - Hugh Hopper 

“Thank you Jan Ponsford for your magic ways.” - Alice Russell

Its a Jazz Thing

Compiled by Jazzdance  DJ Graham B | Guru, Donald Byrd, US 3, Ronny Jordan, Take Four featuring Jan Ponsford

“Jan Ponsford a beautiful singer.” - Harry Beckett