Theo Travis Biography

7 July 1964, Birmingham, West Midlands, England. Travis studied classical music at Manchester University, playing flute, meanwhile playing bass guitar in a rock band that included keyboard player Hugh Nankivell. Graduating with an honours degree, he played tenor saxophone with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Attracting favourable attention throughout the UK, in 1993 he was named Best Newcomer by The Financial Times. The following year, View From The Edge was well received by audiences and critics. Travis was nominated as Rising Star in the 1996 and 1998 British Jazz Awards. In 1994, Travis, who doubles on soprano saxophone, was commissioned to score the Alfred Hitchcock silent film The Lodger (1926), which he and bass player Dave Sturt (together they are Cipher) performed live in September 1996 at a Derby film festival.

In addition to working with his own groups, Travis has played and sometimes recorded with many noted musicians including Roger Beaujolais, Tony Coe, John Etheridge, Slim Gaillard, Dick Heckstall-Smith, John Marshall, Jim Mullen, Palle Mikkelborg, and Norma Winstone. Travis has performed at numerous UK jazz festivals and his name has spread internationally owing to overseas visits including a 1997 tour of Japan. He also toured in the early 00s as a member of Daevid Allen’s Gong, an improvised jazz progressive rock band in which he plays saxophones, flute and keyboards, recording and composing extensively for their 2000’s Zero To Infinity. Travis has continued to gain stature as a composer and was commissioned by West Midlands Arts to compose a suite for jazz septet, ‘Broad Street Changes’. He has also played in improvised music circles, recording 1998’s Bodywork with Marshall and guitarist Mark Wood (as Marshall Travis Wood). Another Travis duo is with bass player Steve Lawson. Travis’ regular jazz quartet of the early 00s comprised Phil Peskett (piano), Andy Hamill (bass), and Marc Parnell (drums). A strikingly individualistic player and composer, Travis is an important figure on the UK scene.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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