Paula Gardiner

Paula Gardiner

Paula Gardiner
Head of Jazz Studies



Paula Gardiner is best known for her work as jazz bassist and composer, based in Wales. However, her professional career began as a classical guitarist and composer. She has written extensively for theatre, radio and film.



Paula calls herself ‘The Accidental Bassist’, as a number of coincidences found her playing firstly electric bass in an Afro-Cuban band, and then double bass for Cardiff’s central jazz club, The Four Bars Inn, providing the rhythm section for a host of visiting international artists. She has recorded for several Welsh language artists including Sian James, Bryn Fôn and Iwcs a Doyle. During the nineties and noughties, Paula founded several bands including the Paula Gardiner Quartet, 6, The Paula Gardiner Trio and the anarchic big band that was Wales’ Jazz Composers. She has worked internationally, taking her own music to the US and composing/conducting a major project in Wales and South Africa for the Cultural Olympiad, 2012.

Notable Achievements

Paula has had a close association with the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year competition, most recently acting as mentor and bass accompanist for the televised final. She is an active member of the Ivors Academy Jazz Council. In 2021, Paula became a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, recognising her contribution to Welsh public life.