Alto and Soprano Saxophonist, Composer / Arranger, Educator
Saxophonist Paul Towndrow is best know for his projects, Paul Towndrow Quartet, Paul Towndrow Sextet, and ‘Newology’. He is also one quarter of the iconoclastic four-piece Brass Jaw, and a member of Scotland’s flagship jazz orchestra, The SNJO.
Paul has released four solo albums and has appeared as a sideman on many others. Much of his output is released on his own label, Keywork Records which was founded in 2005.
Once described in The Guardian as “A turbo-charged amalgam of all your saxophone heroes” , Towndrow has toured and recorded extensively in the UK and abroad both under his own name projects as well as with sensational US group The Bad Plus, New York based pianist David Berkman, Venezualan piano virtuoso Leo Blanco and vibes master Gary Burton. In 2008 he was selected to tour Europe as part of the new European Colours Jazz Orchestra, a project comprising top jazz musicians from all over Europe.
In 2002 he won The Peter Whittingham Jazz Award resulting in his debut album ‘Colours’, and in 2003, reached the final of The World Saxophone Competition at Montreux Jazz Festival, winning the Public Prize (most audience votes) following his performance with the Geri Allen Trio.
As composer and arranger, Towndrow has written for ensembles of all shapes and sizes including music for TV and radio and arranging commissions for the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.
He recently premiered two new works with Brass Jaw composed by ECM recording artist John Surman to launch the new Jazz Composition category at The British Composers Awards.
Outwith the jazz genre, Paul has appeared on album releases by Hue & Cry, Sharleen Spiteri, Codeine Velvet Club, Isobel Campbell, Colin MacIntyre (Mull Historical Society) and others.He has performed and toured with a wide range of artists from folk fusion giants The Peatbog Faeries, to Universal recording artist, Curtis Stigers. Orchestral experience includes performances with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Ireland’s RTE Concert Orchestra.
As one of Scotland’s foremost jazz educators, Towndrow is course director of the Glasgow Jazz Summer School, which runs annually during the Glasgow Jazz Festival. In 2008, he launched Jazz Futures, a performance platform and for aspiring young jazz musicians. The scheme was nominated for ‘Best New Project’ at the inaugural Scottish Jazz Awards. Paul remains committed to offer mentoring and guidance to young musicians whenever possible.
Besides music, Paul spends much of his time running, in part to satisfy his marathon training programme, but more often to get to his next gig on time. Drinking good quality coffee, reminiscing about 1980s computer games, and discussing the joys of tegestology also rank highly in his list of preferred pastimes.
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