Artist Bio
Diana Panton has quietly become one of the brightest lights on the jazz scene today. Her work has been consistently praised by listeners and music critics alike for her ethereal vocals, exceptional song selection and emotional intensity. "Her diaphanous vocal sound never insists and her high speed vibrato is like the beat of a hummingbird's heart - natural, untainted and pure." (Lesley Mitchell-Clarke, Wholenote Magazine)
Her keen aesthetic sense has attracted the attention of some of the jazz world’s most respected masters. When Order of Canada and legendary multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson first heard Panton sing at age 19, he recommended she audition for the reputed jazz workshop at the Banff Center for the Arts (Canada). There, she studied under Norma Winstone (and in subsequent visits, Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan). "When the great singer Sheila Jordan said Diana Panton 'sounds like the sweetest bird you'll ever hear', she helped define some of the ephemeral delicacy that marks Panton as unique." (Stuart Broomer, Toronto Life)

Before recording her first album, Panton completed an Honours Masters degree in French literature and fulfilled a teaching engagement at the University of Paris (France), followed by a position as a French Sessional Lecturer at McMaster University (Canada). She then completed teaching qualifications in French, Visual and Dramatic Arts which would eventually lead to her current position at Westdale Secondary (Canada).

When the time finally arrived to go into the studio, national award-winning guitarist Reg Schwager was invited to join Don Thompson for some stellar accompaniment behind Panton’s pure vocals. The late great Montreal jazz critic Len Dobbin called ...yesterday perhaps one of the finest debut CDs he had heard in years! It landed Diana on the covers of VIEW and NOW Magazine and the album made NOW's TOP 10 Discs of the Year. The album was also awarded a Silver Disc Award upon its release in Japan in 2011.

Since her initial CD release, Panton impressive catalogue of internationally acclaimed self-produced albums have garnered numerous honours, including two JUNO wins, a second Silver Disc Award in Japan, seven JUNO nominations, nine Hamilton Music Awards, a host of National Jazz Award nominations, Canadian and American Independent Music Award nominations, including Best Audiophile Recording at the Rocky Mountain International HiFi Press Awards. Panton was a first place jury-selection to perform at the Jazz à Juan Révélations in France where she was voted Première Dauphine by the Juan public. Panton’s last JUNO-nominated release, solstice/equinox, went to #1 on the HMV Jazz Chart in Hong Kong and in Taiwan. It was also voted one of the Top Albums of 2017 by ICI Musique. In 2018, solstice/equinox was an Editor's Pick in DownBeat Magazine.

Panton’s new JUNO-nominated release, A Cheerful Little Earful, is a collection of happy songs from the Great American Songbook and children's classics from Sesame Street to Walt Disney. Sensitive and playful arrangements by Don Thompson (Order of Canada, JUNO Winner) underline the joyful nature of this spirited outing. Solos and accompaniment by Thompson and Reg Schwager (National Jazz Award Winner) shimmer throughout this recording. A Cheerful Little Earful is an uplifting sequel to Panton's 2017 JUNO-winning children's album I Believe in Little Things which charted simultaneously on Billboard's Jazz and Children's Music Charts and went to Number 1 on iTunes and Amazon in Canada and the US, including topping's Movers and Shakers Chart. The album was selected as the one of the top albums of 2016 by School Library Journal and DownBeat. These albums provide the stepping stones for both kids to connect with jazz and adults to reconnect with their inner child. This music has the remarkable ability to entice both the jazz beginner and the aficionado. Listen and be prepared to grin from ear to ear!

Panton is the recipient of a 2019 Significant Person Award, the 2018 Westdale Wall of Distinction, 2017 Woman of Distinction in Arts/Culture/Design by the Hamilton YWCA, the 2017 OSSTF Wayne Clark Teaching Award, a 2017 Hamilton Wentworth District School Board's Profiling Excellence distinction, the 2016 Hamilton Arts Award for Music.   She has been a featured host on CBC Radio. Previous Tonic radio host Tim Tamashiro named her one of Canada’s TOP 5 Jazz Vocalists and the listenership at JAZZ.FM voted Panton onto their list of the Top 25 of Canada's Most Significant Jazz Musicians.
Easily in the top echelon of jazz vocalists anywhere in the world today.
David Braid, JUNO-award winning pianist and Gemini-award winning composer

If the expression "the art of interpretation" has ever applied, then it does here. Expressiveness, paired with a voice that is nuanced with top notch jazz inflections, gives us a vocalist that ranks among the greatest young chanteuses of our time.
Volker Doberstein, tonart magazine, Germany

She is like an instrument - mind you, I've never heard an instrument sound that good.
Guido Basso, JUNO-award winning trumpeter

What makes Panton special is that she's herself. You feel her relaxed, playful personality throughout, and the quality of her voice is remarkable. [...] A voice that's as gentle as a doe but smart as a fox. Brava!
Marc Myers, JazzWax

Diana Panton is now one of my favourite voices in Jazz!
Laila Biali, JUNO-award winning singer, composer, pianist and national radio host

I’ve worked with some of the best singers of all time and Diana is, in her way, as good as any of them. She can communicate to the listener in a way very few people can.  She never puts herself in front of the music. Her priorities are pretty simple. She simply wants to create something beautiful.
Don Thompson, Cadence Magazine interview by Randy L. Smith

Her name is Diana Panton and she has one of the loveliest voices I think I've ever heard ... (One of Tim's picks for the Top 5 Jazz Vocalists in Canada)
Tim Tamashiro, ​past radio host of CBC's Tonic

... the gloriously gifted Diana Panton has quietly developed into one of Canada's premiere jazz vocalists.
TIm Perlich, CBC blogpost

Diana Panton est à mon avis l’un des trésors les mieux dissimulés du jazz canadien.
Frédéric Cardin, CBC/Radio Canada,

It is truly a special treat to work with someone of Diana's artistry, natural jazz proclivities and professional business practices. Never mind the fact that our audiences `eat her up' live and then buy her recordings like crazy! Both of her northern visits celebrated over-sold shows.
Duncan Sinclair, President of Jazz Yukon

Aesthetically wonderful!
Dr. Yusef Lateef, saxophonist, Jazz in July

She brings to each song that perfect combination of words and music – words so naturally phrased they seem as easy as conversation, music so deliciously supported and coloured by a voice that can do whatever it wishes to express the deepest emotions.
Hugh Fraser, Hamilton Spectator

She’s so soulful … I know she means every word she sings.
Sheila Jordan, Vocalist

Panton does, indeed, have a delightfully sweet (though never cloying) sound, a tonal purity that is arrestingly beautiful.
Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes Magazine

Hearing Diana’s voice is like catching the sound of a thrush in the middle of a long Canadian winter: it’s warm, sweet and pure.
Katie Malloch, previous host of CBC's Tonic

Among the many new vocal stars on the jazz scene today, Diana Panton has special charms.
Kazutomi Aoki, Japan’sJAZZLIFE

She really knocked me out (the first time I heard her sing). She was so young but she had a lot of real feeling. It surprised me right away.
Don Thompson, pianist, bassist, vibraphonist

If the post isn’t already taken, I’d like to nominate Diana Panton as Canada’s jazz sweetheart.
Cathy Riches, WholeNote Magazine

[listening to Diana sing] I got the same feeling the first time I heard singers like Sheila [Jordan], Lee Wiley (at the 1954 Newport Jazz Festival), Helen Merrill and Irene Kral.
Len Dobbin, “Masterworks”Award for radio

Diana Panton is one of Canada’s finest singers, and I was pleased to feature her with her band at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival here in NY this past June (2014) to great reviews by our patrons. I highly recommend her for your festival!
John Nugent, Producer/Artistic Director

Diana […] has a keen sense of lyrics and her expressiveness is very engaging. She is comfortable in her own skin and has her own style - that was clear at her show.
Keizo Takada, Jazz Japan  Tokyo Cotton Club review

Diana Panton is one of my favourite jazz singers of the new generation. Her vulnerable, gentle voice has peacefully coaxed me to fall in love with her singing. In addition, the high-quality sound of her recordings, both detailed and exquisite, is superior to many so-called "audiophile" CDs.
Hong Kong's  HiFi Review Magazine

Apt comparisons include Peggy Lee, Lee Wiley, or Blossom Dearie, singers who showed how less can indeed be more in creating an emotional impact. The Hamilton, Ontario, native does the same with quiet intensity, subtle swing, nuance, natural musicality, reliable intonation and a singular purity of voice. (As to the last point, Jo Stafford springs to mind.)
Randy L. Smith,  Jazz Journal, UK

Diana Panton has a magical quality. Her voice and singing are charming and romantic, yet never too sweet and she sometimes even sounds divine.
Shouji Ichikawa,  Japan's CD JOURNAL

To say that Panton's voice is enchanting would be an understatement ...
Marc Skulnick,  Editor's Picks, Hamilton Magazine

Her vocal style combines a light, buoyant lilt with immaculate phrasing, an authoritative delivery and a convincing ability to portray the emotions of the lyrics’ protagonists.
Bobby Reed,  Editor's Pick, DownBeat

Diana Panton’s gifted voice has a direct penetrating power, full of an emotional conviction that her contemporaries lack. The combination of her ethereal and graceful singing skill, appealingly luscious voice and her ability to deliver the lyrics as a storyteller make Diana Panton simply irresistible.
Rui-Feng Hong,  Taiwan’s Audio Art Magazine

The finely crafted music is consistently plush and shimmering, listenable and soothing yet still graced by impeccable jazz qualities and details.
Peter Hum,  Ottawa Citizen

To all of her material, Panton brings admirable sincerity and she sings with a soft and gentle vocal sound, excellent diction (here and there, singing in French) and a light sense of swing. She clearly loves the music she performs and is well served in all that she does by Don Thompson and Reg Schwager, both of whom support the singer admirably.
Bruce Crowther UK's Jazz Journal