Head of Jazz Studies
LTCL FTCL FLSW
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 for theatre. 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 (featuring John Parricelli), 6, The Paula Gardiner Trio and the anarchic big band that was Wales’ Jazz Composers (featuring Huw Warren). 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. 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 Committee.
Paula is an Advisory Panel Member for the Review of Jazz in England, All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group. She is also on the Ivors Academy Jazz Committee (The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors). She conducted a review of the BA (Hons) Jazz for Middlesex University in 2016 and is an external examiner for Leeds College of Music (2018, continuing). Paula was a panellist for the British Composer Awards, BASCA (2018), and for Eisteddfod Genedlaethol (2018). In 2021, Paula became a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, recognising her contribution to Welsh public life.
In her research, Paula has always shown an interest in hybridity with regard to idiom and with regard to the supposed hierarchy of professional and amateur. She is committed to exploring music that crosses boundaries, whether these boundaries are generic, or processual.