Famously combining the careers of jazz saxophonist and orthopaedic surgeon, Art Theman has been described by critic John Fordham as “an appealing presence on the British jazz circuit for over 40 years. Originally a Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins disciple he has proved himself remarkably attentive to the saxophone styles of subsequent generations”.
Themen was born in Manchester, England, where he was involved with the traditional jazz scene in the late 1950s as a self-taught musician, having started playing clarinet as a schoolboy. In 1958 he began his medical studies at the University of Cambridge, going on in 1961 to complete his studies at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, qualifying in 1964. He specialised in orthopaedic medicine, eventually becoming a consultant.
Themen started playing jazz with the Cambridge University Jazz Group – with bandmates including Lionel Grigson, Dave Gelly and Dick Heckstall-Smith – and then in London playing with blues musicians Jack Bruce and Alexis Korner. In 1965 Themen played with the Peter Stuyvesant Jazz Orchestra in Zürich, going on to play with such English luminaries as Michael Garrick, Ian Carr, and Graham Collier‘s Music.
In 1974 Themen entered on what was to be one of his central musical relationships when he started playing with Stan Tracey, and he has played with all of Tracey’s groups, touring with him all over the world as well as around the UK. Themen has also played and toured with visiting US musicians, including Nat Adderley, Red Rodney, George Coleman, and Al Haig.[5
In 1995 Themen formed a quartet with pianist John Critchinson.
Themen’s style originally owed much to the influence of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, but later influences included such disparate saxophonists as Coleman Hawkins, Evan Parker, and the “sheets of sound” John Coltrane.
Themen was interviewed by Julian Joseph on BBC Radio 3‘s Jazz Line-Up on 22 November 2014 as a celebration of the saxophonist’s 75th birthday. He revealed that he had originally played clarinet, but since page three of the tutor book had been missing he had played for some time with the mouthpiece upside-down. He was inspired to play saxophone after he attended a gig by the Dankworth Seven, at the local Palais, at the age of 16, with a female cousin. The immaculately-dressed and manicured saxophonist Danny Moss winked at Themen’s cousin and the instant effect this had convinced Themen that his future lay in the saxophone.
Following his retirement as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Themen has been focusing on his jazz career.
Art played with the Jazznights Trio who were:
Roger Odell – Drums
Jazznights Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak and the forerunner band Tracks. Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day.
Apart from a great power drummer he is also a prestigious arranger.
Steve Cook – Double Bass.
Steve has a wonderful rounded tone with great clarity. He has played with Mike Westbrook, Mike Kilpatrick’s Duke Jazznights Steve Cook 010412 Ellington Orchestra, Barbara Thompson, Soft Machine, Seventh Wave and Gil Evans big band at Ronnie Scott’s.
Mike Gorman – Keyboards
As a jazz pianist/organist he has worked/toured with many leading international artists including Marlena Shaw, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Manu Katche, Jimmy Witherspoon, Georgie Fame, China Moses, Scott Hamilton, Bill Watrous, Clare Teal, Stacey Kent and Charles McPherson amongst others.
He has also worked with many of the UK’s leading luminaries in the field including Don Weller, Guy Barker, Anita Wardell, Dave Cliff, Alan Skidmore, Bobby Wellins, Art Themen, Danny Moss and is a regular member of The Peter King Quartet and The Jim Mullen Organ Trio.
Following the Jazznights Raffle of three jazz CD’s we had the pleasure of Geoff Harriman playing All Of Me on his harmonica.
Sunday 8th March 2020 – VASILIS XENOPOULOS (sax) will be at Jazznights
Saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos is one of the most accomplished Greek jazz musicians of his generation and a genuine representative of straight ahead jazz. London became his permanent home after graduating with honors from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and gradually established himself as one of the UK’s up and coming jazz saxophonists.
THE BEST IN BRITISH MODERN JAZZ is at Jazznights, Admission £10. Doors open 7.00 pm. Music 7.30 – 10.00 pm.
See website at http://jazz-nights.com/site/
Reserve seating on 01787 237653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pay on the night.
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