Born in Southampton, Tony Woods grew up in Chilworth Old Village and began playing folk music with his father at the age of five.
A graduate of Keele University, Leeds College of Music and The Guildhall School of Music, Tony received awards for saxophone, outstanding performance and the soloist’s prize at the Dunkirk International Jazz Festival.
He has a great interest in composing and improvising music by combining the traditions within Jazz, Classical, and European & English folk music. And this comes together most in his group, the Tony Woods Project. There, you’ll hear his intricate compositions featuring his saxophone playing, and penny whistle, flutes, and even the Chinese hulusi.
Tony Woods Project
In the mid 90’s Tony formed The Tony Woods Project. It has recorded four highly acclaimed albums of original, folk inspired compositions: “High Seas”, “Lowlands”, “Wind Shadows”, and”Hidden Fires”. The band has attracted airplay on BBC Radio 3, Jazz FM, and UK Jazz Radio. As well as touring the UK extensively and performing at festivals including Manchester, London, Swanage, Ealing, Ascot and Teignmouth.
The latest album from the Tony Woods Project is “Hidden Fires” which has been getting great reviews. Here’s one from The Jazz Mann website:
“Woods’ writing is colourful, imaginative and inventive and the way in which he brings his various influences together to create a seamless whole is frequently masterful”. ★★★★
Listen here to Tony’s interview with Soweto Kinch on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Now programme. [link]
The band will be touring the UK in 2019. So check the website for tour dates
Tony’s wide experiences with Jazz, Classical, and European & English Folk music have brought many opportunities for collaboration.
In order to explore the possibilities of improvising on English classical music, Tony formed the Avalon Trio. The trio features Pete Churchill on piano, and Rob Millett on percussion. In 2011, they released their debut album “Forlana” to great critical acclaim. Click on the player to listen
He has frequently performed with Michael Garrick, both live and on disc, in large and small ensembles, often with his wife: singer Nette Robinson. In 2010 Nette’s Little Big Band released its debut CD “The Little Big Band Plays”. And in 2012 Michael Garrick’s Lyric Ensemble, which features Nette and Tony, released “Home Thoughts”- Michael Garrick’s final album.
Tony has also collaborated with fellow Way Out West member Tim Whitehead forming the band ‘Kwartet’, And in 2012, as a result, they released their debut album, “Seventh Daze”.
Tony has performed at many of London’s concert halls including: Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, Pizza Express Jazz Club and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. Furthermore, he has worked at London’s top recording studios including Abbey Road, Lansdown, Angel, and Maidavale Studios.
When he’s not playing at Way Out West with these groups you’ll find Tony somewhere in the ocean sailing lasers.