Alan Skidmore started playing professionally at the age of sixteen. He played regularly in the BBC Jazz Club and with the Eric Delaney Orchestra, before joining Alexis Korner’s band, recording with John Mayall and playing with Ronnie Scott. He represented the UK at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in 1969 with his Quintet (Kenny Wheeler, Tony Oxley, Harry Miller, John Taylor). In the same year he was awarded the International Press Prize for Best Band, the Soloist Prize, and a Scholarship to Berklee School of Music, Boston, USA. He also made his first album as a leader “Once upon a Time” with the Quintet.
In the 1970s he worked and toured extensively with Georgie Fame, George Grunz, Chris McGregor, Mike Westbrook, Mike Gibb and many other leading jazzmen. He co-led the brilliant saxophone trio SOS (Skidmore, Osborne, Surman) while maintaining his career as a bandleader with his own quintet. In the 1980s and 90s, he continued to work with Georgie Fame and also toured with Van Morrison. He worked extensively as a soloist West German Radio and Television. Among his many other connections, he played with Elvin Jones and established a life long friendship. More recently, along with further travels gigs with Georgie Fame and Van Morrison, and a busy life as a first-choice sideman, he has played and recorded extensively in Africa and Europe with South African musicians, following an initial British Council sponsored tour in 1995.
“After three decades of liaisons with legends such as Herbie Hancock and Georgie Fame, Skidmore only really needs his smouldering saxophone to get us drooling. As usual he massages and then assaults our ears with the kind of heady, devotional jazz that gets even the non-smokers in the audience gagging for a cigarette. His set comprises music written by John Coltrane and the band is obviously at home evoking his slow-burning dreamscapes and his fiery crescendos. As they strike up with Resolution you would swear that Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison and McCoy Tyner are in the room, so authentic are those swelling sheets of sound.” (James Griffiths, The Guardian)