Born: December 13, 1978 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
Paul Towndrow Alto and Soprano Saxophonist, Composer / Arranger, Educator
A turbo-charged amalgam of all your saxophone heroes The Guardian
Having won an international scholarship in 1999, Paul went on to study at the world famous Berklee College of Music in Boston; USA where he studied with saxophone icons, George Garzone and Joe Lovano. He currently leads his own groups, The Paul Towndrow Quartet and Paul Towndrow Sextet. He is a member of The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and has also performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
In 2002 he won The Peter Whittingham Jazz Award and has secured Jazz Services touring grants for UK tours with The Paul Towndrow Quartet in 2003,2004 and 2006. In July 2003 he reached the last four at The World Saxophone Competition at Montreux Jazz Festival and won the Public Prize (most audience votes) following his performance with the Geri Allen Trio. He reached the final stages again in 2004 at the London Jazz Festival. On both occasions he was the only representative of the UK to reach the finals. Paul was also selected to perform at The Cheltenham International Jazz Festival in 2006 as part of the Jerwood Rising Stars programme and at London Jazz Festival in 2007.
Paul recently toured with sensational US group The Bad Plus, playing the music of Ornette Coleman and currently performs, records and arranges for pop group, Hue and Cry and Celtic fusion band Peatbog Faeries. In 2006 he travel to Rostov-On-Don in Russia as part of a delegation from Glasgow to celebrate the twinning of the two cities and to take part in a number of international collaborative projects. The Paul Towndrow Quartet has undertaken UK Tours for the past three years consecutively as well as performances throughout Europe. Other tours include those with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and with saxophone quartet, Brass Jaw, who released their debut CD in summer 2006.
Paul released his CD, 'Colours' on FMR Records in Autumn 2003 and a second CD, 'Out Of Town' on his newly formed independent label, Keywork Records, in June 2005. His third CD, 'Six By Six' was released in 2007, followed by a critically acclaimed Sextet tour sponsored by the Scottish Arts Council's 'Tune Up' project with live broadcasts on BBC Radio Scotland's Jazz House and Radio 3's Jazz Line Up.
As composer and arranger, Paul has written for ensembles of all shapes and sizes including music for TV and radio and arranging commissions for the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.
As a jazz educator, he is a tutor and clinician with Dumfries Youth Jazz Group and teaches saxophone, improvisation, theory and composition privately. He is course director for the Jazz Glasgow Summer School which runs during the Glasgow Jazz Festival. He has conducted masterclasses and workshops at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Napier University, Douglas Academy Music School, Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra and Dumfries Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Awards:World Saxophone Competition - Audience Poll Winner 2003
Paul Towndrow- write that name down because it's going to be a big one! Humphrey Lyttleton, BBC Radio 2
Towndrow broods on ballads with a smoky elegance and his precocious assurance suggests a 21st century Tommy Smith. John Fordham, The Guardian
Listening to Towndrow is an invigorating experience and he possesses a phenomenal technique....Towndrow's band follow his every move with intelligence and grace. Dave Gelly, The Observer