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A Short Bio:
Trevor Tomkins earned his fame among Canterbury music fans for his work with Nucleus, Gilgamesh and the Gowen-Miller-Sinclair-Tomkins quartet that recorded Before A Word Is Said. But he is also one of the most respected drummers on the British jazz scene, having played with countless musicians on as many albums since his beginnings as professional musician in the early 1960's.
Trevor Tomkins was born in London in 1941. He started on trombone in the late 1950's, but in 1958-9, he got his first drumkit. At first, he was self-taught, but then studied at the Blackheath Conservatory of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His first professional work was with the Ian Carr/Don Rendell Quintet, which he joined in 1963 alongside pianist Michael Garrick and bassist Dave Green, recording five albums with the group for Columbia until its breakup in 1969. In the meantime, Tomkins had gained quite a reputation on the London jazz scene, which resulted in various sessions and gigs, including the New Jazz Orchestra. He also recorded extensively with Garrick (seven albums between 1966 and 1973, including Cold Mountain (1972) in trio with Green), guitarist Amancio D'Silva and percussionist Guy Warren.
While continuing to work with Garrick, in the early 70's, Tomkins played on several albums, including Frank Ricotti and Michael DeAlbuquerque's eponymous album, his ex-boss Don Rendell's Spacewalk (both 1971). Then he worked with Ian Carr again, but this time as percussionist, in Carr's band Nucleus, playing on the albums Labyrinth (1973) and Alleycat (1975). In the mid-70's, he was a member of multi-instrumentalist Henry Lowther's band Quaternity, alongside Phil Lee (guitar) and Dave Green (bass), but sadly it left no recordings. Around the same time, Tomkins also worked on Neil Ardley's ensemble projects, Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows (1976) and Harmony Of The Spheres (1979), working with musicians such as Geoff Castle, Dave MacRae, Barbara Thompson and Tony Coe.
It was probably through his previous work with Phil Lee that Tomkins was asked to play on Gilgamesh's second album, Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into (1978). This particular line-up was only together to record the compositions Alan Gowen had written since his departure from National Health the previous year. No gigs were performed to promote the album. During the same period, Tomkins was also a member of Barbara Thompson's band Jubiaba, which also included Henry Lowther, Roy Babbington (bass) and Peter Lemer (keyboards). He also played on various albums : Mike Westbrook's Goose Sauce (1978), Tony Coe's Coe-Existence (1978) and Don Rendell's Earth Music (1979).
In 1981, Tomkins was asked by Alan Gowen to play on his last album, Before A Word Is Said, as part of an all-star line-up which also included Phil Miller and Richard Sinclair. In the 1980's and 90's, he has remained involved in the British jazz scene, performing in various groups and backing bands, often working alongside the likes of Phil Lee and Jeff Clyne. In 1985, he toured the UK as a member of the Lee Konitz quartet. He has worked many times at Ronnie Scott's club, often with Americans such as Phil Woods, Sonny Stitt, Pepper Adams and Art Farmer.