Wendy Kirkland

Pianist, composer, singer and writer

Headshot of Wendy Kirkland - a member of the Women in Jazz Media team team

About

Wendy has written several articles for our magazine including shining a light on Jutta Hipp and interviewing the brilliant Zoe Rahman. Wendy also supports our work in creating healthy and safe environments and led on ‘The Jazz Environment’ video project. Wendy was also the guest host for our ‘In Conversation With…’ podcast series, talking to founders of The F List.

Pianist and singer Wendy Kirkland has been a mainstay of the UK Jazz scene since the late noughties, but it was her first album, Piano Divas, released in 2017 that began her ascent to wider recognition as a “Singing Pianist”, as dubbed by Jazz Journal. The ability to sing at the same time as comping and craft solos on the piano or unison piano/voice scat lines is her forte, with influences such as Diana Krall, Eliane Elias and Dena DeRose. Further accolades were given for her 2019 release The Music’s On Me, dubbed “a huge leap forward” by Jazz Views. Both albums prompted ACE funded tours all over the UK and constant radio airplay ever since.

During lockdown from March 2020, Wendy and guitarist/bassist husband Pat Sprakes entertained with a daily dose of Latin American music on Facebook which they entitled Latin Lockdowns. After 86 such performances they decided it was time to move on to other musical endeavours, but were amazed and pleased to receive daily messages from people who described the videos in such terms as “a ray of sunshine” in their lockdown situations.

Wendy’s musical career began at age 10, when she started taking piano lessons. She won a scholarship to have all her lessons paid for by Derbyshire Music, and continued to take her ABRSM piano grades.Switching to jazz in her late teens, Wendy continued her playing career as a dance class pianist, accompanist to singers and as a keyboardist in club bands.

After being persuaded to sing by a great friend and guitarist, Bill McCreath, Wendy learned to reach people who are perhaps turned off by instrumental jazz, as she learnt to communicate with the audience through the songs.Wendy’s voice has been likened to Blossom Dearie with hints of Diana Krall.

Current projects include Piano Divas, a tribute to the female pianist singers of jazz; hammond organ jazz outfit Organik Fource featuring Pat Sprakes on guitar and guest saxophonist; Organik Trio Goes To The Movies and The Organik Cookbook celebrating the early soul-jazz albums of George Benson.Wendy is married to jazz guitarist and bass player Pat Sprakes. They met by chance on a gig and have been making music together ever since.

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