Phil Minton

Phil Minton's own site at is also available

Born Torquay, 2 November 1940; Trumpet, voice.

Video sample

This sample is taken from Grey suit 7 a brief solo performance recorded in a Cardiff pedestrian underpass.


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.

In 1994, Phil Minton began the 'Feral Choir' project in Stockholm and Berlin and the 'Giving Voice' Festival in Cardiff, a series of workshops and rehearsals of compositions specially written for participating performers. In the same year he also toured the US with Bob Ostertag's electronic piece, Say no more. This started life as separate improvisations recorded independently and with no external guidance by Minton, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway (with Joey Barron also in at the beginning, subsequently dropping out). Bob Ostertag then used an Ensoniq EPS16+ sampler and a Digidesign Protools Recording system to explode these solos into fragments and create a band piece from the splinters. This was recorded as Say no more. Ostertag then created a score of the compositions he had created on computer and gave this together with the computer-generated recording back to the musicians asking them to learn their parts for live performance. These parts were rehearsed and toured and formed the second CD, Say no more in person. The third stage - released as Verbatim - consists of the live tapes further exploded and reformed by Ostertag in his computer; the final version consisted of live interpretations of these secondary splinters and was premiered at the Taktlos Festival in Switzerland in March 1996, and appeared as Verbatim, flesh and blood. Phil Minton and Bob Ostertag also performed in duo in London in September 1996, a fragment of which has been released on a compilation Resonance CD. They also toured Verbatim the same year and undertook European and Japanese tours in 1998.

In 1995 Minton appeared at the 'Voices of the world' festival in Copenhagen with Roger Turner and went on a European tour with Tom Cora. The association with Cora evolved through 1996 with a tour and recording of the quartet Roof (Minton, Cora, Luc Ex, Michael Vatcher), into 1997 and 1998 through further quartet tours, ending with Cora's untimely death. Since then, Veryan Weston has made up the quartet, now called 4 Walls and they toured in Europe in 1999.

Radio broadcasts continue apace, particularly in contintental Europe; for example, in 1996 a portrait of Minton's work was created by Grace Yoon for SWF and SFB in Germany. He also continues to appear in less freely-improvised musical surroundings such as taking lead vocal in Carla Bley's revival of Escalator over the hill at the Köln Festival in 1997 then taking this on a European tour the following year, appearing in Franz Koglmann's composition O moon my pin-up in 1997, and the revival of Blake's Bright as fire with Mike Westbrook in 1996 and 1997. The mid-1990s onward have seen him as a moderately frequent visitor to Russian and Eastern European countries: a 1994 appearance at the Urals New Jazz Festival, a tour of Lapland with Roger Turner and Arne Forsen in 1995 plus an appearance at the Vocal Jazz Festival Novosibirsk in Siberia, and in 1999 a short solo tour of Russia taking in Leningrad, Moscow and Krasnoyarsk. He also tours Japan, including a 1998 tour with Sabu Toyozumi and other Japanese musicians and vocal workshops in Tokyo.


Further reading

Dutton, Paul (1996), Phil Minton: the sound of colour. Coda magazine, no. 269, (September/October), pp. 8-11.


1969, Up Umeå, Blue Tower BTCD 07. Phil Minton Quartet.
1972, Solid gold Cadillac, RCA SF 8311/BGOCD471.
1973, Brain damage, RCA SF 8365/BGOCD471. Solid Gold Cadillac.
1975, Mike Westbrook plays for the record, Transatlantic TRA 312.
1975, Welfare State/Lol Coxhill, Virgin/Caroline C1514.
1975/1980, A doughnut in both hands, Rift3/Emanem 4025.
1976, Voice, Ogun OG110. With Julie Tippetts, Maggie Nichols, Brian Eley.
1977/1978, Goose sauce, Original Records ORA 001. Mike Westbrook.
1978, Of queues and cures, Spalax SPA 14830. National Health.
1979, Mama Chicago, RCA PL 25252. Mike Westbrook.
1979, Rags/The goldiggers, ReR LCD. Lindsay Cooper.
1980, Bright as fire, Original Records ORA 003. Mike Westbrook.
1981, Voice of America, Rift 4. Bob Ostertag/Fred Frith/Phil Minton.
1981, The Paris album, Polydor 2655008. Mike Westbrook.
1981/1982, A doughnut in both hands, Emanem 4025.
1982, The cortege, Original Records ORA 309/Enja 7087-22. Mike Westbrook.
1983, Couscous, nato 157. Lol Coxhill.
1983/1985, Vario, Moers Music 02048. Three pieces on Vario LP.
1983/85/86, Sirens and silences/Work resumed on the tower/Letters home, ReR NfB. News from Babel.
1984, Ammo, Leo LR 116. Duo with Roger Turner.
1984, Ammo, Golden Years of New Jazz GY 22. Duo with Roger Turner.
1984, On Duke's birthday, Hat Art 2012/6021; HatOLOGY 635. Mike Westbrook.
1984/1985/1986, The Berlin Station, FMP SAJ 57.
1986, Ruff, Leo LR 138. The Ferrals with Roger Turner, Hugh Davies and Alan Tomlinson.
1986/1987, Plan Eden, Creative Works CW 1008. With Alfred Harth, Günter Müller, Hans Anliker, Andreas Bosshart.
1988, IRMA, Matchless MR16. AMM plus soloists.
1988/89, Songs and variations, Hat Art CD 6028. Recordings of the GrubenKlangOrchester.
1989, Off Abbey Road, Tip Toe 888805. Mike Westbrook.
1989, Oh Moscow, Victo cd015. Lindsay Cooper.
1989, Monads, Reel Estate RECD9002. Pat Thomas.
1990, Trio Raphiphi, ITM 1465.
1991, Concert works, Random Acoustics RA 003.
1991, Songs from a prison diary, Leo CD LR 196.
1991, State of Volgograd, FMP CD 57.
1991, AngelicA 91, CAICAI 001. Three pieces by 'Ways' + one trio.
1991/1992, Cactuscrackling, FOR 4 EARS CD 411.
1991/1995, GoTo, Sans Soleil. With Ulrike Haage and FM Einheit.
1992, Spirits rejoice, Ogun OGCD101. The Dedication Orchestra.
1992, Flavours, fragments, ITM Classics 950014. Georg Graewe's GrubenKlangOrchester.
1992, Ways, ITM 1420. Duo with Veryan Weston.
1992, Ways past, ITM 1468. Duo with Veryan Weston.
1992, Brain weather, ReR BJRCD2. Jon Rose's story of the Rosenbergs.
1992, Sahara dust, Intakt CD 029. Lindsay Cooper.
1993, Perceptions, Random Acoustics RA 008.
1993, Radio Inferno, Rough Trade Records 197. 1598.2/Reihe EGO 203.
1993/1994, Half a lifetime, Unit Records UTR 4068. Two tracks on double CD with Fredy Studer and Christy Doran.
1993, Dada da, Leo CD LR 192. Duo with Roger Turner.
1993, muntmunt, Blue Tower CD04. Duo with Christian Munthe.
1993, Play the music of Jimi Hendrix, Intuition INT 2134. With Christy Doran/Fredy Studer/Django Bates/Amin Ali.
1993, Say no more, RecDec 59. Bob Ostertag's manipulations.
1993, Apollo and Marsyas, Apollo Records ACD 090217/8. Trio track of Butcher/Minton/Hirt on compilation CD.
1994, Nightmare, Impetus IMP CD 29831. Single track on Lindsay Cooper disc.
1994, Say no more in person, Transit 444444. Bob Ostertag's virtual group playing live.
1994, AngelicA 1994, CAICAI 006. Short duos with John Zorn and John Oswald, plus a longer ensemble piece.
1994, The enchanted messenger, Soul Note 121284. The Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra.
1995, AngelicA 1995, A1 007. Four pieces by Ways Past + one large group.
1995, Two concerts, FMP OWN 90006. Minton Butcher Hirt.
1995, Techno mit störungen, Plag Dich nicht 002. Jon Rose.
1995, Bad Minton, Long Arms Records CDLA 98020. Track on Russian compilation CD.
1996, Mouthful of ecstasy, Victo cd041. Phil Minton Quartet.
1996, The untraceable cigar, Red Note 04. Roof, with Tom Cora, Luc Ex and Michael Vatcher.
1996, Verbatim, Rastascan BRD 029. The second version of Bob Ostertag's virtual group.
1996, Perks, ReR JR3. Jon Rose's interactive badminton game.
1996, Improvisation, Resonance 51. Duo with Bob Ostertag, recorded live in London.
1996, A doughnut in one hand, FMP CD 91. Solo.
1997, My Chelsea, Rectangle REC-MCA. Lol Coxhill/Phil Minton/Noël Akchoté.
1997, Xmas songs, Rectangle REC-N. Lol Coxhill/Phil Minton/Noël Akchoté.
1997, Time stories, Intakt CD 054. David Moss.
1997, Vocal village project, Intakt CD 068. David Moss.
1997, Trace, Red Note 7. Roof. One track issued on Hallelujah, anyway: remembering Tom Cora, on Tzadik TZ 7602.
1997, O moon my pin-up, HatOLOGY 566. Franz Koglmann.
1998, Verbatim, flesh and blood, SeeLand 512/Rastascan BRD 035. The final version of Bob Ostertag's virtual group.
1998?, As it happened, WIMprovijf CD 310399. With André Goudbeek Quartet.
1999, Slamfest, SLAMCD 405. Duo with Jim Dvorak on compilation 2-disc set.
1999, Nature morte, Leo Records CD LR 310. Simon Nabatov Quartet.
1999, Apples of Gomorrah, GROB 429. Butcher/Minton duo.
1999/2002, Ways out east, ways out west, Intakt CD 097. Minton/Weston.
2000, Relay eight, 2:13 Music CD011.
2000/01, And the world aint square, Red Note 9. 4 Walls.
2001, Freedom of the city 2001: small groups, Emanem 4205.
2001, ”(for) friends and neighbo(u)rs“, Concepts of doing 008/Edition Explico 12. Minton/Christmann.
2001, .....past, IDA 018. Minton/Weston.
2002, Pasta variations, SOFA 509. No spaghetti edition.
2002, London duos and trios, Intakt CD 081. Hans Koch.
2002, Mopomoso solos 2002, Emanem 4100. Chris Burn/Lol Coxhill/John Edwards/Phil Minton/John Russell.
2002, q, For 4 Ears CD 1551. Poire_z + Phil Minton.
1998-2003, Drainage, Emanem 4211. Minton/Turner duo.
2003, One, SOFA 518. Toot.
2003, Five men singing, Victo cd092. Jaap Blonk/Koichi Makigami/Paul Dutton/Phil Minton/David Moss
2003, Which side are you on, Red Note 11. 4Walls.
2003, Activity Center/Phil Minton, absinthRecords 006.
2003, The concert: live at Total Music Meeting 2003, a/l/l 008. King Übü Örchestrü.
2004, Freedom of the city 2004: small groups, Emanem 4214.
2004, Constant comments, FMR CD156-i1204. Axon.
2004, A few incidences, Leo Records CD LR 446. Simon Nabatov Octet.
2004, Nippara·Tokyo, Austin Record ARR-0017. Phil Minton/Yagihashi Tsukasa/Sato Yukie/Higo Hiroshi.
2005, Spin networks, psi 07.05. fORCH.
2005, Equals, psi 08.02. FURT plus.
2005, Alive at sonorités, émouvance 1027. Daunik Lazro/Phil Minton.
2005, The enigma carols, Recorded 019.
2005, Palatially palpable, Recorded 020. Scott Moore.
2005, Live at Hull Art Lab, Poot #42. Minton/Turner.
2005/06, Fat fish, DATA:061. Sean Bergin's Song Mob.
2005/08, Two, Another timbre at14. Toot.
2005/09, _A Frames, dobialabel 002. Compilation CD.
2006, 2006 Duos, Emanem 4137. Terry Day.
2006, Slur, Emanem 4140. Phil Minton Quartet.
2006, Tasting, Another timbre at02. Sophie Agnel/Phil Minton.
2007, No doughnuts in hand, Emanem 4148. Solo.
2008, Backchats, Creative Sources CS149. Speak Easy.
2008, Speak Easy, Panrec DVD. A film by Pavel Borodin.
2009, Midhopestones, Another timbre at19. Rhodri Davies/Michel Doneda/Louisa Martin/Phil Minton/Lee Patterson.
2009, Unlimited 23, Panrec PANDVD04P. A film by Pavel Borodin; includes performance by Speak Easy and a duo of Phil Minton with dieb13.
2009, Anicca, Dancing Wayang Records DWR006. Duo with Okkyung Lee.
2010, By the stream, Subrosa SR310. Duo with Audrey Chen.
2011, Phil Minton/Dylan Nyoukis, Ptomata Kato Ap'To Krevati/Phase! PHR-95/MAFIA-01.
2011, Just not cricket! Three days of British improvised music in Berlin, NI-VU-NI-CONNU nvnc-lp001/004. Tom Arthurs/Steve Beresford/Tony Bevan/Matthew Bourne/Gail Brand/Lol Coxhill/Rhodri Davies/John Edwards/Shabaka Hutchings/Dominic Lash/Phil Minton/Eddie Prévost/Orphy Robinson/Mark Sanders/Alex Ward/Trevor Watts.
2012, Spukhafte Fernwirkung, Treader TRD020. fORCH/FURT.
2014, With..., Emanem 5037. John Russell's 60th birthday gig.
2016, Léandre - Minton, Fou Records FR-CD24. Joëlle Léandre/Phil Minton.

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