Tim Amann (piano/composer)
Tim began playing Jazz semi – professionally at the age of 15. He was a regularly featured player at The Cannonball in Digbeth – Birmingham’s only “jazz pub” at the time, in the late 80s and early 90s. Tim studied at Cambridge University from 1989 to 1992 playing a prominent role in a lively jazz scene. He fronted popular fusion outfit ‘Out to Lunch’ and played with the Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra as well with Bristol based saxophonist Jake MacMurchie.
From 1992 to 1994 he led a quartet featuring the much respected tenor saxophonist Ian Ellis. Over the years Tim has performed with American trumpet giant Art Farmer, saxophone legends David Murray, Scott Hamilton and Hal Singer, trombonist Gene Connors, and Irakere founding member and drummer Enrique Pla from Cuba. Tim has played with numerous British stars including Courtney Pine, Tim Garland, Dave O’Higgins, Pat Crumley, Julian Arguelles, Guy Barker, Tim Whitehead, Gerard Presencer, Martin Shaw, Dennis Rollins, Art Themen, Bobby Wellins and Don Rendell. Tim was also a member of Andy Hamilton’s Bluenotes from 2004 and continues to play regularly with members of Andy’s former rhythm section. The Jazz Review describes Tim as ‘a very tasteful pianist who chooses his notes carefully and chooses them well’. His melodic style reveals the influences of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, although he has his own distinctive musical voice. Tim regards himself as a composer as much as a jazz pianist.
In 1995 Tim founded his present quartet largely as a vehicle for original composition. This band, with the addition of Sheila MacRory on vocal and violin, toured Scotland in 1998 and 1999, performing at the Edinburgh Festival as well as at a number of venues in Glasgow, the Highlands and the Western Isles.
In 1999 the quintet, with the addition of Chris Aldridge (alto and soprano sax), Paul Bennett (trumpet) and Helen Miller (trombone), performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The band received an excellent response, winning recognition as “outstanding newcomers” and featured in TV coverage of the festival. This same line-up also recorded Tim’s debut album “Xtet” in the summer of 1999. This album, featuring eight originals penned by Tim, contains elements of Irish and Scottish folk as well as melodic contemporary jazz.
Following an appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the original quartet, plus vocalist Sheila MacRory, completed a ten-day tour of Germany in October 2000. Tim’s quintet recorded a second album in Augsburg with the help of ex Chet Baker vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackershmidt, who also features on the recording. The resulting album, ‘The Scarecrows’, which contains a number of original compositions loosely inspired by a novel by English writer Robert Westall, was released early in 2001.Tim’s original compositions again dominate the album and illustrate a development of the fusion of jazz and folk styles in his music. This album received numerous favourable reviews, got a top five rating in the MP3 jazz-fusion chart and has been played by radio stations in Europe and further afield.
In 2002 Tim recorded original music with his band for a theatre production of ‘The Authorised Version’ by Andrew Cowie, which went to the Edinburgh Festival. In 2003 the xTet performed at the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival and one track, Dreams of Leaving, appeared on a festival ‘All Stars’ album released in association with Jazzwise magazine. In 2006 Tim recorded two further discs. The first ‘Little Steps’ was recorded with the Walsall Jazz Orchestra and included contributions from Martin Shaw on trumpet and four of Tim’s original compositions. Reviews of this can be found on the Walsall Jazz Orchestra website. Also in 2006 Tim recorded with the unique vocalist, fellow member of Andy Hamilton’s Bluenotes and stalwart of the local scene Vic Evans; together with bassist Mike Green and regular drummer Carl Hemmingsley. The resulting disc, ‘Deep in a Dream’ sold out of its first three runs and has proved very popular with Vic’s many fans who had not had the opportunity to hear a full album of his own before.
Two tours of Russia including stints at The Union of Composers’ Club in Moscow and in St. Petersburg represented a pinnacle for Tim’s xTet in 2007 and 2010 playing alongside saxophonist Oleg Kireyev with whom Tim has also performed and toured in the UK over several years. The band’s most recent recording of some of Tim’s more recent original material, ‘Still Waters’; featuring Ray Butcher on trumpet alongside Sam Rogers on sax, Adam Gilchrist on bass, Carl Hemmingsley and Pete Hammond on drums/percussion and Sheila MacRory on vocal and flute was released in 2011, receiving a range of very positive reviews. In 2011 the Tim Amann xTet also won the audience poll for the Jazzlines Rush Hour Blues sessions at Symphony Hall and played in a special concert which doubled as an album release.
Tim continues to play regularly in and around the Midlands with his own band, the Walsall Jazz Orchestra and other well-known local jazz artists including Casey Greene’s ‘Skint’, Roy Forbes, Steve Ajao and Andy Hamilton’s Bluenotes. Tim’s current five piece line-up incarnation of the Tim Amann xTet, featuring Sam Rogers (saxes), Ray Butcher (Trumpet) Adam Gilchrist (bass) and Carl Hemmingsley or alternatively Aidan Amann (drums) can be heard every third Sunday of the month at The Trumpet in Bilston. Tim has recorded with various projects and is featured in new recordings by Roy Forbes and Ray Butcher due to be released in 2018.