With both of her parents being musicians, Bryony Jarman-Pinto grew up surrounded by the art form, particularly the sounds of the vocal groups and choirs led by her Mum, which specialised in improvisation and a cappella arrangements, often created on the spot, influenced by jazz and world music.
“With hindsight, I can see it massively influenced my singing approach and writing”, says Jarman-Pinto, whose vocal style shines with a loose, freeform beauty that is underpinned by a deep sense of poise and composure. “Improvisation is a really important aspect that I’m developing in my own work”, she adds, citing as influences Dianne Reeves, Bobby McFerrin, Esperanza Spalding and Ella Fitzgerald, among many others.
Another, more direct influence has undoubtedly been the Mercury-nominated producer and Gondwana Records owner Matthew Halsall, with whom Jarman-Pinto has recently been busy in the studio (and on tour), working on a much-anticipated collaboration.
Born in London, Jarman-Pinto moved to Cumbria in the North West of England at the age of 8; there, she met Tom Leah (aka Werkha) at secondary school, marking the beginning of the enduring friendship that would lead to their eventual musical collaborations. But it wasn’t until she left home to study Fine Art Painting in Glasgow that she found herself drawn into pursuing music more seriously for herself, and started to jam and write with Leah at every opportunity.
“Doing impromptu gigs back in Cumbria with Tom’s guitar, my voice and a loop pedal, we built a quirky sound guided by loosely scripted instrumentation and vocal improvisation”, she elaborates; “Later on he invited me to collaborate on some tracks, which resulted in “Sidesteppin’”.”
The aforementioned track pricked up the ears of tastemakers including Gilles Peterson, who scooped it up for a release on one of his Brownswood Bubblers compilations, followed by its inclusion on both Werkha’s “Beacons” EP and subsequent ‘Colours Of A Red Brick Raft’ album on Tru Thoughts. It is testament to Jarman-Pinto’s natural writing and vocal gift that this song, conjured up in a late-night jam session, continues to grow in demand and has gone on to become a bona fide sing-along track for Werkha’s live band, in which she features as lead vocalist.
As well as Gilles Peterson, Jarman-Pinto’s vocals have charmed many other major tastemakers, with “Dusk” – another co-written Werkha single to which she brought her uniquely shimmering and evocative vocals – gaining notably heavy daytime airplay from BBC 6Music’s Lauren Laverne.
Exploring a crossover of genres as she develops her style as an artist, Bryony Jarman-Pinto finds herself increasingly merging elements of folk music with the jazz and world influences of her youth, for a sound that is truly her own. Watch this space for the spoils of these sonic experiments, which will be revealed in 2016.