Tom Bancroft is a drummer, composer, bandleader and educator who has been working professionally in music for over 30 years. You can explore his previous projects in the Archive section of this website.

Tom Bancroft is a drummer, composer, bandleader and educator. Trained as a doctor Tom now makes a living from music. He has played with musicians ranging from Sun Ra & Martyn Bennett to 
Geri Allen and Bill Wells and student and professional musicians in small and large ensembles, as well as composing music for dance, theatre, multi-media and film.

He is a key member of the 80 piece Grit Orchestra that features many leading scottish jazz, folk, and classical musicians. Tom is a member of two musical collectives. He is a core member of the Playtime Collective -with Martin Kershaw, Graeme Stephen, and Mario Caribé – that performed every fortnight in Edinburgh for 6 years until it was forced online by COVID and now is increasingly recognised as one of the most innovative creative online jazz projects in the UK.

Tom is also a founder member of the Pathhead Music Collective , a group of folk, jazz, and electronic musicians based in the village where he lives in Midlothian Scotland, where he curates (with Martin Green from LAU) the PIE series of improvised/experimental concerts in a village hall.

He leads other irregular creative projects like Trio Red – with Tom Cawley and Per Zanussi, big band Orchestro Interrupto, the half male/half female big band Band of Eden, and the non-jazz electronic/experimental group Vincent – with Japanese avant-grade pianist Satoko Fuji, and In Common – a project finding common ground between Indian Classical and Scottish Jazz musicians, and jazz and traditional singers, and the African Groove Machine featuring Adie Baako Elias and Thomas Annang from Ghana, and Claude Deppa from South Africa.

After running Scottish Jazz record company Caber Music for 7 years between 1998 and 2005 and releasing over 40 albums of Scottish jazz, he now runs the music education company ABC Creative Music with his twin brother Phil.


Tom is largely a self taught musician but has studied drums with Joe Morello, Andrew Cyrille, Billy Hart, & Joey Baron in the US, Okoe Ardyfio in Ghana, Suresh Vaidyanathan in India, and Asaf Sirkis in London. He also studied composition and arranging at McGill University, Montreal for a year. He has taught drums privately and at a wide range of jazz workshops and masterclasses and music and creativity in a wide range of all types of education establishments from primary schools in Morocco to Conservatoires & Universities in Glasgow, Birmingham, and Rochester. Tom co-led the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland with Laura MacDonald for 2 years.

Tom has a particular interest in the interface between jazz and traditional music – he has played extensively with traditional musicians in Scotland. This has also led him to become an innovator on the traditional Irish/ Scottish drum the bodhran – he has also studied, taught, and performed with traditional musicians from Burkina Faso, Ghana, India, Vietnam, and Taiwan including the FAMLAB Seaphony Orchestra project in Vietnam, and working with the TenDrum group form Taiwan.

Along with his brother Phil he developed the Apple Banana Carrot Method for teaching improvisation whilst they were running the Grampian Jazz School in the 1990s. This was so successful they started the music education company ABC Creative Music in 2001  which develops creative music resources for mainstream schools, nurseries, and special needs centres and now has nearly 10,000 teacher subscribers across the world. Tom & Phil are in the process of publishing their theories on music education and the psychology of creativity.

Within ABC, Tom has wide experience in classroom teaching, resource design and development, project management, and leading large-scale performance projects, bringing together children from several schools to perform together in an end-of-project spectaculars (see here and here)

He has developed a passion for coding to produce interactive on-screen games and apps allowing children to create their own music as part of educational programmes – becoming skilled in Flash and HTML5/Javascript.

Tom won the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2007 and the Creative Scotland Award.


List of people Tom has played with includes:

Sun Ra, Martyn Bennett, Grit Orchestra, Bill Wells, Geri Allen, Bobby Wellins, Tommy Smith, Satoko Fuji, and a host of other leading British & European folk and jazz musicians, Karen Mathieson, Donald Shaw, Zapp 4 String Quartet, Laura Jurd, Furio Di Castri, Martin Taylor, Marilyn Crispell, Raymond MacDonald, Shooglenifty, Julian & Steve Argüelles, Iain Ballamy, Billy Jenkins, Branford Marsalis, Oliver Lake, Sheila Jordan, Aidan O’Rourke, Martin Green, George Colligan, Nguyên Dúc Minh & Quyền Thiện Đắc with Seaphony Orchestra (Vietnam), Mai Khoi (Vietnam), David Berkman, Reid Anderson, Nguyen Lê, and many more……