Theo Travis

Theo Travis, a London-based composer and saxophonist, has established himself as a prominent figure in British jazz for his musical talent and his soulful style. Theo was born in Birmingham and studied classical music at Manchester University. He also played in various rock and jazz bands. In 1993, he signed to 33 Records. He has since released three solo albums and just completed the improvised album Bodywork together with John Marshall and Mark Wood. Travis released Secret Island in October 1996, his third CD on 33 Records. He also featured John Etheridge as guitarist. The album features several blues-oriented tracks as well as a song inspired by The Crow Road, an Iain Banks novel. Travis and his band embarked on a 27-date UK tour following the release of Secret Island. He won the Scotrail Jazz Award for his performance at the 1996 Glasgow International Jazz Festival. The Jazz on CD Critics/Critics poll voted Travis’ second CD, View from the Edge on 33 Records, the Best British Jazz CD 1994. The Financial Times named him Best Newcomer 1993 and Rising Star 1998 in the British Jazz Awards. Presenter Digby Fairweather praised Travis as “one the most talented young tenor players in this generation of jazz” and featured him in a Jazz Parade session on BBC Radio 2. He was interviewed for a one-hour interview by Digby Fairweather on WKCR-FM in New York. He was also asked to compose new music for The Lodger, a silent 1926 Hitchcock film. This was performed live by Derby Metro’s 100 Years of Cinema Festival in September 1996. Nicholas Royle, Penguin author, acknowledged Travis as one of his inspirations for Saxophone Dreams. Manchester University awarded Theo Travis a music degree with honours. He was a member of NYJO and toured Spain with them. In 1987, he performed at New York’s Blue Note club. Theo has also worked with other musicians, including Jim Mullen and Norma Winstone. He has also collaborated with Dick Heckstall Smith (including on his recently acclaimed CD Celtic Steppes), Tony Coe and Mick Karn. He has performed at the Brecon and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals as well as at jazz venues across the country and on national and local radio. He toured Japan in August 1997 with DJ Krush, Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri. Travis was awarded three Jazz Services touring grants. He was also commissioned by West Midlands Arts, to write a suite for the jazz septet Broad Street Changes. This was performed in the Midlands. Gong has been his part since May 1999, when Theo was called in to fill in for Didier Malherbe on a short notice for a European tour. Gong was originally formed in late 1960’s. However, the group has been subject to many personnel changes. The main leader of Gong is Daevid Allen. Pierre Moerlin and Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett, Bill Laswell, and Mike Howlett were all Gong legends. Laswell was also involved in the New York Gong. The music is described as cosmic/psychadelic/jazz /improvised/progressive rock/space metal, etc. Theo plays flute and saxes, as well as most of the keyboards for the CD Zero To Infinity (SnapperMusic). The majority of the album was also written by him. Since 1999, Theo has been on tour with them, playing more than 125 shows in Britain, Europe and Scandinavia. Theo regularly tours with Theo Travis Quartet, which has performed 12 weeks at Ronnie Scotts Club in London, the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel, and at many other jazz clubs and festivals across the UK, from Cornwall to the North tip. He replaced Elton Dean as part of the Soft Machine Legacy in 2006 and recorded the album Steam (for whom he wrote three original compositions). Theo continues to record and write with his experimental ambient band Cipher, which he co-founded with Dave Sturt. They have released 3 CDs and composed scores for many silent films from the 1920s. They also toured the UK performing the songs in independent cinemas. Double Talk, Theo’s 2007 album, features Pete Whittaker’s soulful hammond organ, Mike Outram’s guitar and Roy Dodds on the drums. The band’s new album Double Talk was released in 2007. They will also be touring extensively in 2007/2008. Theo has also performed with progressive and ambient rock artists and has recorded or performed with Robert Fripp and David Sylvian, Bill Nelson and Hatfield and the North. Visit

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