Alan Skidmore, a world-class musician experienced in a myriad of musical environments and disciplines, is renowned both as a soloist and as a section player on films, radio and television. The list of international artists with whom he has performed and recorded reads like a “Who’s Who” of contemporary music and includes Georgie Fame, John Mayall, Elvin Jones, Eric Clapton, Clark Terry, Stan Tracey, Van Morrison, Charlie Watts, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Weather Report and Dexter Gordon!
Skid’s formative years – what he has described as “my university education” – was playing with John Mayall and Alexis Korner in the early 1960s.
The earliest of his many special achievements came in 1969, when his quintet, featuring the late Kenny Wheeler, represented the UK at the Montreux: Jazz Festival and won the International Press Awards for Best Soloist, which included a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, and for Best Band.
Alan first won the Melody Maker Jazz Poll for saxophone in 1971 and again in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In 1973 he formed the band S.O.S with John Surman and Mike Osborne, with which he toured extensively and appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Always popular in Germany Alan also had the pleasure of being invited to play at NDR Hamburg’s Jazz Workshop with Weather Report for TV broadcast and also for jazz education purposes.
In 1984 Alan toured India, Hong Kong and the Philippines as the featured soloist with the Cologne-based West Deutscher Rundfunk (WDR) Big Band.
One of the major highlight’s of Alan’s career was the honour and privilege of working at Ronnie Scott’s with the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine in 1988, giving Alan the opportunity to work with his hero, John Coltrane’s, regular drummer.During the 1980s he represented the BBC at the Belgrade Festival with the band S.O.H. (Skidmore, Oxley and Haurand), with which he toured Europe for six years, and has toured the world and recorded with Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts, Stan Tracey and Georgie Fame, featuring with Georgie on BBC TV’s Later With Jools Holland.
In the 1990s, after the abolition of apartheid, Alan was chosen to be the first European jazz musician to go on a British Council sponsored tour of South Africa, and has since recorded three CDs The Call,Ubizo and 50 Journeys with the African drum band Amampondo and they have toured the UK several times as Alan Skidmore’s Ubizo.
In 1998 Alan became one of a very small band of saxophonists – Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt and Stan Getz – to record an album with a full orchestra. After the Rain has proved a great favourite and has been reissued in 2017. His “Tribute to John Coltrane” UK tour which included appearances at Brecon Jazz Festival and Cheltenham Jazz Festival received rave reviews, and more recently, he has collaborated with Peter King at the North Sea Jazz Festival where they presented their “In Honour of Bird and Trane” programme, accompanied by the celebrated Dutch band, the Rein de Graaff Trio while, closer to home, he has performed at the Royal Albert Hall with Elvis Costello and Georgie Fame.
In July 2017 he featured at a special memorial tribute concert marking the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s passing at London’s Cafe Oto with Paul Dunmall’s Sunship Quartet. In 1987 he shared the bill at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon with a quintet with many of Coltrane’s regular collaborators to mark the 20th anniversary.