"the most complete mix of invention and originality" - The Times
Trio AAB were formed sometime back in the late 1980’s when a bass player didn’t show up for a gig and twin brothers Tom and Phil Bancroft and guitarist Kevin MacKenzie decided to go ahead with no bass and enjoyed it.
The band has since gone on to make 3 critically acclaimed Cds and to develop a reputation as being a seriously fun band exploring a whole range of influences – post Ornette bop, ECM jazz, Celtic folk, drum n bass, house, the Sound of Music, and indie rock – as well as becoming a powerhouse live act.
The band have played in festivals across Europe including France, Holland, Morocco, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Germany.
After a hiatus pursuing solo projects and having babies Trio AAB are back with a vengeance with a great new set of music .
Trio AAB recently played at Alchemy Festival 2014 and Celtic Connections 2015 with Indian Violin stars Ganesh Kumaresh.
"Languidly beautiful" - The Herald
Wherever I Lay My Hat That's My Home
"If this is the best Scottish modern jazz has to offer, then let's have lots more please" - Yorkshire Post
Stranger Things Happen at C
"audacious and spikily engaging" - The Guardian Jazz CD of the week
Tom Bancroft (drums, bodhran) has played with Geri Allen, Martyn Bennett, Tommy Smith, Sun Ra, Marilyn Crispell , Satoko Fuji and many more. He has studied with Jo Morello, Joey Barron and Andrew Cyrille, He is a composer who writes for TV, radio and dance and leads his own big band Orchestro Interrupto. He is an active educator and artist-entrepreneur – forming the label Caber Music and the creative music education company. ABC Creative Music He won the Creative Scotland Award in 2005 and the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2007.
Phil Bancroft (saxophones) is one of the UKs top saxophonists. He has played and recorded with with Hue and Cry, the SNJO, John Rae’s Celtic Feet, Karen Mathieson, and Carol Kidd, He has recently toured and recorded with his own international quartet featuring Reid Anderson of the Bad Plus, Thomas Strønen, and Mike Walker. Phil is an active teacher and co founder of ABC Creative Music.
Kevin MacKenzie (guitar) is in demand in both jazz and folk worlds in Scotland. He plays and tour with many folk groups including Fiddler’s Bid, Jenna Reid, & Keep it Up, and well as performing with his own jazz-folk 9 piece group Vital Signs and the Scottish Guitar Quartet. Kevin’s website is here.“Kidsamonium was one of the highlights of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Children of all ages had an extraordinary time, learnt about how music works but most importantly had fun. Children who thought they didn't understand music and perhaps didn't event want to try to understand it changed their minds in about an hour and a half! For both parents and teachers it was truly inspirational. “ - Alice Cooper, Development Director, Cheltenham Festivals"Warning: Kidsamonium can seriously strain your smile muscles. Tom Bancroft's fantasia aimed at introducing children between six and 14 to jazz picked up the Innovation prize at the recent BBC Jazz Awards, and it could convert non-believers of any age. Bancroft emerges in Elvis regalia - and hilarious wigalia - as, of course, The King. As he marshals his sextet through swing, blues and folk-jazz and gets everyone playing kazoos, banging percussion instruments and shouting at the invading chicken gang, he assumes various personalities. Sometimes he's King Bossy, other times he's just King Nuts, but he has a real talent for involving people. There are elements of pantomime: when guitarist Billy "the Aviator" Jenkins goes off in a huff because he discovers he can't fly, the band has no way of playing chords. So different lengths and colours of tubing are distributed and volunteers are invited on stage to conduct the audience by pointing at three different sets of tubes. Result? Harmony is taught, if not necessarily maintained. The whole thing is great fun, and if Harry Potter re-introduced children to reading, then Bancroft goes one better: he even convinces them that putting stuff back is hip." The Herald *****"A perfectly paced, beautifully structured and highly entertaining introduction to jazz improvisation" - Clare Williams, Llangollen Jazz Festival, 2007
Kidsamonium was a fun, magical musical event aimed at 6 to 14 year olds with a view to letting kids see the exciting power and freedom of jazz & improvised music up close in a format they can digest. Short contributions by a range of artists (including a join-in mass 'Percussion Discussion') combined with performances and interactive musical games by a crack(pot) troupe of musical characters including the mysterious trombone playing 'Chicken Gang', the madcap 'Aviator' Billy Jenkins, the ‘Big Tuba Kid’ Oren Marshall, the Princess Laura MacDonald, the Dutch Tourist Joost Buis or Monsieur Parp Patrick Charbonnier, and Judge Claude Deppa. It was all led by Tom Bancroft ‘the King’. The show also featured at different times - Phil Bancroft as Prince ‘Prince’, Buyron Wallen as the ‘Magistrate’, Brian Finnegan as ‘Cowboy Brian the BodyGuard’, and Chirs Greive as ‘the Surfer’.
Children listened to amazing feats of musicianship, as well as participated in a massed kazoo call and response session, improvised on a giant human piano, and created harmonies with the Three Circle Harmony Generator.
The show ended with the hilarious ‘Mum and Dad’s dancing” section.....
At Festivals Kidsamonium featured special cameo appearances from other musicians at the festival (who generally had a ball) including
Branford Marsalis, Ernst Rejsiger, Harry Becket, Byron Wallen, Paul Towndrow, Alyn Cosker, Karine Polwart, Inge Thomson, Pete Wareham, Huw Warren, Andy Sheppard, Brian Finnegan of Flook, Gilad Atzmon, Jason Yarde, Karen Casey, Siobhan Miller & Jeana Leslie, Eamonn Murphy of Beogas, Eric Boeren, to name a few.
As the Chicken Gang we had students from the Birmingham Jazz Conservatoire, National Youth Theatre of Scotland, Jambone, Kirkwall Grammar School, Brechin, and Kilmarnock High School Big Bands, and local primary and secondary pupils in various places.
Kidsamonium was originally commissioned by The Sage, Gateshead and Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
Kidsamonium won The Herald Angel in 2007.
Kidsamonium uses ideas that link with the ABC Creative Music range of music resources. For more information see www.abccreativemusic.com
“Kidsamonium” ensured that the centre was packed with excited youthful audiences early in the morning, many of whom stayed on for the free concerts that followed. Dressed as an outsize Elvis, Bancroft has a sense of spectacle. The guitarist Billy Jenkins flew across the auditorium on wires, then the band burst into the foyer pursued by a brass ensemble of giant chickens, only to continue back inside with the whole crowd playing along on give-away kazoos. On the concourse, Bancroft placed coloured discs on the floor. When anyone set foot on them, a brass band on an upper level played a chord. Branford Marsalis and Andy Sheppard were among the high profile disc-hoppers, jumping from colour to colour, and improvising to the chords from above. The result? Plenty of delighted shrieks and laughs from dozens of under12s, many of whom were hearing live music for the first time." The Times ****
A showcase of 3 of Scotland's leading jazz groups that cross-over into other genres including Scottish traditional music and Indian Classical music.
Tickets booking links below.
Tom Bancroft's In Common featuring Sharat Chandra Srivastava (violin) and Gyan Singh (tabla) from India,
and on vocals Gina Rae, and Sophie Bancroft
"this is vividly colourful music ****" The Scotsman
Graeme Stephen's The River featuring leading traditional fiddler Chris Stout from Shetland
"Brilliantly realised...outstanding success" The Herald
Fergus McCreadie Trio Scotland's up and coming jazz piano star
BBC YOUNG JAZZ MUSICIAN OF 2019 FINALIST
PLUS a pop up gig on 17th August at 8pm by
The Playtime Trio. featuring Tom Bancroft (drums), Graeme Stephen (guitar) and Martin Kershaw (saxes) playing one hour of continual improvised music in " Improvised Journey into the Beauty of Inner Space"
Hear tracks and see videos from each band below:
Between them these musicians have received 3 Scottish Jazz Awards, Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Finalist,
BBC Jazz Award for Innovation, Creative Scotland Award, Herald Angel etc etc
The project will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival:
August 14th - 16th 1-4pm Pianodrome - Each band plays a longer set in separate concerts in a unique 100 capacity music venue built out of up-cycled pianos, beautiful, funky and cool. BOOK TICKETS HERE
August 16th & 17th 6.30-10.30pm Out of the Blue Each band plays a longer set in a cool 80 seat capacity space near the centre of Edinburgh. BOOK TICKETS HERE
This project has Made in Scotland funding from Creative Scotland.
If you are an international festival or promoter this means that if you come and see the project in the fringe the bands can get travel support to come and perform for you in your country.
"The teaching skills of the Bigstix team were inspiring; to take a group of children and adults with little experience of making music and to create such a wonderful sound was impressive.” - Clare Sheridan, Cochlear UK
4 drummers from different styles.
4 great communicators and educators.
- exciting all music all age drum & percussion performances with fun audience participation
- drum workshops
- community & schools music events
Big Sticks are:
- Brendan Murphy
- Tom Bancroft
- Mehdi Ganjevar
- Rob Kitchen
Clandemonium was a unique, pure of heart, and slightly deranged attempt to get 1000 people doing a flashmob street drum/dance/body/percussion/jazzhorns/bagpipes and kazoo performance
A set of professional and volunteer leaders including Tom Bancroft, Allan Irvine, and Laura MacDonald welcomed members of the public to don a coloured clandejimmy hat and join in the fray.
For 20 minutes each group learned their parts while a groovy beat was pumped out of a large PA and then the whole mad, funky combination was performed together with jazz horns and bagpipes playing over the top.
Clandemonium took place in West Parliament Square, Edinburgh, in 2010.
Multi-Story Karma was an epic multi-media show that Tom devised in 1996 with collaborators Ruby Worth (dance), David Greig (drama), and Walter McCrorie (animation) and with the support of the Glasgow International Jazz Festival director Derek Gorman and the Scottish Arts Council. The show was inspired by recent events in Bosnia and Serbia and featured the Tom Bancroft Orchestra – with jazz musicians like Phil Bancroft, Oren Marshall, Rick Taylor, and Gina Rae and Dutch musicians Mischa Kool, Jorrit Dijkstra and Joost Buis, plus traditional musicians Martyn Bennett and Charlie McKerron (Capercaillie) and singer-songwriter Michael Marra. The show featured audience participation, all the musicians dancing, animation, use of footage of the audience, surround sound, and Michael area performing a monologue penned by future theatre great David Greig – at that time an up and coming new writer recommended to Tom by the legendary Tom McGrath – a renowned playwright who was also a jazz pianist. This show was the first time Michael Marra and Martyn Bennett met and worked together – who went on to collaborate on the legendary Grit album. Sadly Michael Marra, Martyn Bennett, Tom McGrath, and Rick Taylor are no longer with us.
it is hard to believe now but there is almost no record of this show apart from this grainy piece of video. If you watch it you can see that Gina, Tom’s wife, is pregnant – their son Sam was born just over a month later, and a year later Tom started the record label Caber Music – both of which events distracted him from this kind of work for a long time…
Many people remember the performance though….
And the after-party was also legendary…. with a VAT of Irn Bru and whisky and a ladle involved…On this page I will be adding some stuff from my career where I worked with collaborators in Dance, Theatre, Film etc. Through these experiences I made music I would never have made in other ways....
Life on the Planet's Surface
This is a piece I loved making with the amazing choreographer and singer Kelsey Michael. This toured round several venues and festivals in the early 90's. This performance features John Telfer on saxophone and Oren Marshall on tuba. It is in basically 3 parts - up to 30 minutes or so it is improvised music and dance. 30min-45min roughly we all dance together using body percussion ideas I developed with Kelsey, and the last part Kelsey choreographed to my music. which was composed on a Korg M1 keyboard (and all step programmed in using a 3 inch LCD screen - before I started using a computer!) I loved performing this show!
A Case for a Picnic Part 2
This performance was from the Dunoon sea front during the Jazz Festival in, I think, 1993.
We all made the piece together led by the amazing choreographer/deviser Ruby Worth, and the wonderful residents from Dunoon Key Housing Project.
I did the music and kind of danced.... had a ball!
Again with Ruby Worth, this was a project with a wonderful organisation called ACES whose work
is creating a network and projects connecting schools from a load of Central & Eastern European Countries,
including some who had recently been at war with each other.
The project brief was to make a dance, that one teacher and a student from each school could learn,
then take back and teach to the kids in their school and make a video, all of which could be
edited into a Youtube video compilation.
Ruby Worth was the choreographer again, and I wrote the music and the words -
under my electronica peudonym Tommy Banana! Gina Rae is on vocals.
BTW I also worked with Ruby on the Multi Story Karma Park - also in this archive.
Lands of Glass
In 2017 I wrote music for and performed in the amazing show 'Lands of Glass' which toured all over the UK. It was a delight working with musicians Brendan Muprhy and Beccy Owens, and actors Tom Walton and Hannah Biyde and director Annie Rigby. It was an amazing experience writing music inspired by the amazing novel by Alessandro Baricco and trying to bring his crazy world to life in a theatre.
Pop Up Duets
I played drums on this. Music composed by Pippa Murphy. Choreography Janis Claxton. Vocals Kathryn Joseph.
In 1996 I did the music for a lovely short film directed by Barry Ackroyd called The Butterfly Man which was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA.
You can see it here:
This project emerged from an informal meeting at Edinburgh Jazz Festival when legendary Italian bass player Furio Di Castri (ex Chet Baker, Paul Bley, Tony Oxley…) s sat in with Trio Red.
That chance meeting evolved into this group which has performed at Turin and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals and has a CD in production.
Featuring Tom Bancroft (drums), Furio Di Castri ( bass) Jacopo Albini (sax & bass clarinet) and Graeme Stephen (guitar).
UNST is an improvising group featuring Neil Davidson (guitar) Una McGlone ( bass) Sue McKenzie (sax) and Tom Bancroft (drums).
CD in production.
"Exuberant, witty and inventive... considerable verve... a wry commentary on contemporary life... sidesteps the two main obstacles that trip up many a jazz composer by ensuring that his pieces retain both a sense of humour and plenty of space for improvisation" - The Times
"an oddball risk that has paid off... real richness... an unexpectedly rewarding evening." - Evening Standard
Tom Bancroft Orchestro Interrupto with Geri Allen - Review by James Griffiths, Friday October 8, 2004, The Guardian *****
If the Scottish jazz scene is increasingly attracting international attention, drummer Tom Bancroft must be considered one of its leading lights. Listening to one of his compositions is like being lost in a vast magic box where hidden doorways, trap doors and optical illusions are all waiting to disorientate you.
His current British tour unites him with his own 12-piece Orchestro lnterrupto (so called because their career is always being interrupted by solo endeavours), and the brilliant Detroit pianist Geri Allen. The first half - minus Allen - focused on old Bancroft favourites such as Pieology and China Heart. The former featured some parping chaos from the front-line trombones, while the latter evolved slowly into a tangle of visceral textures supported by a dark swelling bruise of a melody.
A segue into a comical cutting contest between the two trombonists had the audience in an uproar, particularly when the two musicians began dismantling their instruments and playing them backwards. Wth the arrival of Allen, things got madder. The band provided an overture of chattering hi-hats over a hairy beast of a bass line, but when the piano entered, it sounded like a completely different instrument. There were preoccupied scrambles, ecstatic janglings and mind-bending tangential leaps, yet somehow Bancroft’s crew refused to be upstaged.
At one point they created an eerie backdrop of squawks, rattles and squeaks into which Allen poured a great puddle of piano textures. Set in the context of Bancroft’s tensely coiled orchestration, it was an inspired moment of abstract impressionism. As a contrast to the fireworks, the leader unveiled a new three-part suite which evoked languorous childhood summers. Featuring a folk-derived melody from guitarist Kevin Mackenzie, it reached rapturous heights when Allen’s single high piano notes entered into a dialogue with the fugal horn. With a back projection screen flickering with dreamy images, this was less a jazz gig than a blissful hallucinogenic experience.
Jazz gig of the Year 2004 City Limits Magazine, Manchester
Gigs of the Year Critics Choice 2004 Time Out Magazine, London
Top 100 Cultural Events of 2004 in The List magazine, Scotland