Tom sings prose and wordless music with the spirit of an instrumentalist. Featuring contemporary jazz improvisation, extended vocal techniques, and live electronic looping and effects processing, Tom’s music is adventurous, philosophical and delivered profoundly. Graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) in 2010, Tom was invited to study a Master of Jazz voice at the Manhattan School of Music in 2013. Tom’s performance highlights include The Melbourne International Jazz Festival, The Sydney Opera House and ABC Radio National’s The Music Show.
Tom has been awarded grants including the Australia Council for the Arts Artstart, and Skills and Development, which funded professional development in NYC with vocalist and composer Theo Bleckmann.
Tom’s debut album Aspirations was released in July 2014 to critical acclaim. A 4.5-star review in The Weekend Australian heralded the album as, “a breakthrough in leading-edge jazz vocals … the arrival of a unique new talent.” Over $9000 of the album’s funding was raised by fans and supporters worldwide through the crowdfunding platform Pozible.
Aspirations was shortlisted for the 2015 Jazz Bell Awards Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album.
Tom has worked and recorded with artists including Barney McAll, Ethno Tekh, Stephen Magnusson, The RaaH Project, Gian Slater & Invenio, Andy Sugg, Philip Rex, Fran Swinn, and composers David Shea, Byron Scullin and Andrew Byrne.
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“Barton’s voice is a soothingly smooth tenor … always with profound expression,
drawing on historic examples of jazz singers but injecting his personality and
– The Weekend Australian
“Poetry in motion with beautifully clear-headed vocals.”
– All About Jazz
“An honest musician, yes, but also a fiercely talented one.”
– Australian Musician Network
“On Resolution, Sugg and Barton recreated Coltrane’s epic
improvisation in a thrilling
duo-solo, Barton’s vocalese matching Sugg’s incisive tenor
phrases note for note”
- The Age, 19/7/2010.
“The performance received a standing ovation…these singers
took us on a journey of discovery that was audibly rich and
yet brimming with subtlety…it was riveting.”
- Rodger Mitchell, Herald Sun.
“Sugg’s arrangements fuse the sound of first-generation
British Punk (think Ian Dury and the Blockheads) with
Coltrane’s ’50s bebop; while the drone of the Shruti Box,
and [Tom Barton's] vocal improvisations through the Gibson
Echoplex, create radically new contexts for an exploration
of Coltrane’s later music.” – Simon Felice.