Thompson’s Tangos

COMPOSERS: Barbara Thompson
LABELS: Intuition
PERFORMER: Barbara Thompson (as, ts, ss), Billy Thompson (vln), Peter Lemer (kbd), Dave Ball (bgs), Jon Hiseman (d)


Thompson’s Tangos may be Barbara Thompson’s last album for some years because she too has fallen victim to illness. In 1997 she was diagnosed as having Parkinson’s Disease, but only made it known this year because the progress of the disease has made it difficult for her to continue playing and touring. Her current and final tour began in continental Europe and was due to end in London in early April.

Thompson has grown constantly as a saxophonist and composer, because her natural talent has been accompanied by a phenomenal capacity for hard work. She is one of the most successful and popular British bandleaders, both at home and abroad, and she is also a successful and versatile composer for small groups, big bands, symphony orchestras and classical soloists.


The illness struck her, tragically, at the height of her very considerable powers. Her tango album is a gem, full of pith and moment, panache and poetry. Each of her four tangos has its own individual atmosphere, and the moods range from the soulful gypsy passion of the first to the serenity of the second, the mysterious, melancholy eloquence of the third and the grandeur of the fourth.