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Theo Travis

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Biography of Theo Travis


Theo Travis (tenor sax/soprano sax/flute/alto flute) - Theo Travis is well known on the British jazz scene for his 7 solo albums and his frequent touring with his quartet. In September/ October 2002, the Theo Travis Quartet toured 30 dates around the UK including a two-week tour around the coast of Scotland, including various remote islands. Theo is also an innovator of live looping with his horns, ie using electronics to build up atmospheric layers and textures, particularly on flutes. His CDs have been played frequently on BBC Radio 2 and 3 and Jazz FM and he is a regular at London’s Ronnie Scotts Club . Theo is involved in an eclectic range of music: having written scores for theatre companies; with experimental ambient band Cipher written and performed soundtracks to various 1920’s silent films; and guested on over 60 albums. In 2004/05 he has played in America, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden and Belgium. Theo has also played with Palle Mikkelborg, John Etheridge, Lol Coxhill, Jim Mullen, Porcupine Tree, Anja Garbarek, Tony Coe, Richard Sinclair, David Sylvian, Jah Wobble, Bill Nelson, Harold Budd, Roger Beaujolais and Slim Gaillard . In 1999 Theo became a member of Daevid Allen's Gong as featured soloist and since then has played over 125 gigs with them in Japan, Europe, Scandinavia, UK and America including a sold out show at New York’s Knitting Factory. He also co-wrote most of the group's album Zero to Infinity, and produced their live album Live to Infinitea.

"A Brave and restless talent to watch for" Mojo

"Like a modern day Duke, Travis takes delight in compositions which create subtley-constructed pictures of moods" Jazz the Magazine

"His spinning of sax adventures around a core of bluesy soulfulness has made him an engaging communicator" the Guardian

"British saxophonist and composer Theo Travis's career on the local jazz scene may have identified him (for a small but attentive audience) as one of the UK's most creative and least clone-like of the younger straightahead jazzers - but there's a lot more to him than that. This disc highlights Travis' collaborations with members of the German band Triocolor and veteran art-rocker Daevid Allen's Gong, but the most powerful guest presence on this fourth Travis session for 33 Records is the illustrious Danish trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, a man with a totally personal, stealthy yet sensuous sound. Pianist Dave Gordon makes some telling please for more appropriate recogntion too. At first you think you're in standard Travis territory while his rich tenor tone eases through the grooving ballad "All I Know". Then the slowly unfolding soprano sax line on "Northern Lights", over glowering electronic harmonies , suggests that the disc is pulled - sometimes uneasily - between straightahead jazz and north European impressionism, with the latter the more generally absorbing. Palle Mikkelborg's presence on this track and three others transforms the set - barely breathing on "Northern Lights", purring and cat-wailing against Andy Hamill's slinky bass on "Fast Life" , garrulously sinister on "Here's that Rainy". But Theo Travis's strengths as a saxophonist are always apparent, notably in the soft swing and eloquent vibrato on the mixed tempo "That Old Smile", and in the sympathetic interplay with Mikkelborg.

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