Esther Bennett in conversation with: Hannah Horton

Written by | Artists, News, Women in Jazz Media

British Female Jazz Saxophonist Hannah Horton is a rising star in the UK Jazz scene and has performed with many great jazz artists including Ian Shaw, Amy Winehouse, John Etheridge, Tina May, Georgia Mancio, Polly Gibbons, Natalie Williams, Esther Bennett and Irene Serra; and at venues including Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Dean St, The 606, The Pheasantry, Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Royal Festival Hall and The Barbican. She has also toured in Europe and USA with Shapla Salique and is causing a huge buzz with her new album ‘Inside Out’ with incredible reviews and sell out performances.  In her own words “Inside Out is a reflection that throughout life we grow, we as humans build resilience and how time teaches us confidence, inner strength and acceptance.”

Esther Bennett by Piotr Syrek

As part of a new series, we invited team member and fellow jazz artist, Esther Bennett to put five questions to some of the artists performing at this years EFG London Jazz Festival as part of our Women in Jazz Media event at Toulouse Lautrec.

What does Jazz and being a Jazz Artist mean to you?

Jazz is a huge part of ‘me’ and without it I would not be complete! To me jazz is a way of me feeling confident to express myself through original compositions, improvisation, interpreting standards and collaborations. Jazz gives me the freedom and excitement to be creative and to work with many other amazing musicians along my musical journey. I am always learning and developing with jazz and I love that ever evolving element. Being a jazz artist is all consuming and amazing at the same time. Having just released my new album ‘Inside Out’ there’s a lot of promotion and planning involved whereas before the album, I was composing and trying new ideas out a lot. Being an artist is about juggling all the different elements needed to get your music out there and at the same time ever learning, developing, collaborating and of course having fun. I’m also enjoying giving something back to the jazz players of the future by directing and mentoring J Steps and some other amazingly talented young jazzers.

What musical influences and experiences do you think shaped the artist you are today?

Photo by Nicholas Sleep

There are many musical influences and experiences that have shaped the artist I am today, and I know there are many more yet to come! Throughout the 8 or so years of formal training via Junior Guildhall, Goldsmiths College, and Trinity College of Music I have been mentored by amazing musicians and tutors who have influenced the artist I am today. As a teen I played in many local and national groups and companies (such as NJYO, NYMT) and jammed with many peers. Going to lots of live concerts and gigs has also influenced me not just musically but also in how I perform and deliver my music as an artist. It’s so hard to narrow down the greats who have influenced me, so to name a few: Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Jan Garbarek, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, Gerald Finzi, John Rutter and the list goes on…


What non-musical influences and experiences do you think shaped the artist you are today?

This is an interesting one for me! Two constant influences are nature and emotion. I love nature, everything about it, so living in the countryside is perfect for me! I am inspired by the birds, the flowers, sound of the air, the seasons, haw frost to name only a few. The inspiration from emotion has grown through time. As we get older, but maybe no wiser ha ha, we accept our emotions more and acknowledge them. I have allowed these emotions to influence the music I compose and how I play: the intensity, the character, the freedom. Recently my father passing away after his long battle with cancer last year, and the pandemic which has affected all of us, have really influenced the music I create and also how I create it.

Photo by Ron Milsom

What do you think is important about the existence and work of Women in Jazz Media and how do you think it will affect and benefit the jazz world?

I am so pleased WIJM exists. WIJM community feels a very supportive and inclusive family and one where we all support each other, which I feel is very refreshing. Your Parliamentary Jazz Award was well deserved. Personally I have discovered lots more jazz artists, authors and photographers through you which has been great. WIJM show so much jazz to the world and that definitely benefits the jazz world. You are also helping to address the gender imbalance in jazz and highlighting females and non-binary doing their ‘jazz thing’. By showing this the jazz world are getting more used to us in jazz – thank you!

What are you going to be performing for us on your WIJM EFG London Jazz festival night?

I am so excited to be performing on 13th Nov at Toulouse Lautrec for WIJM. We will be performing tracks from my newly released album ‘Inside Out’ and much more, including originals and even an unexpected track from Mary Poppins and a Morris dance like you’ve never heard it before! This will be our next London date after launching my album to a full house at the 606 club on 22nd Sept.

To find out more about Hannah Horton: Website

For tickets to see Hannah at EFG London Jazz Festival: Ticket Link


Last modified: October 23, 2021