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Tim Thornton (Aug 14)


Appearances at SoundCellar -

THE TIM THORNTON TRIO - Thurs 4th Sept 2014

THE TIM THORNTON QUARTET - Thurs 7th March 2013

THE DYLAN HOWE QUARTET - Thurs 3rd March 2011


Question 1 - What made you want to become a musician?

My parents are both musicians, my Mother is an opera singer and my father a pianist so I guess through being surrounded by music and the business from an early age I just fell into it.


Question 2 - What was your practice routine when you decided to get serious about playing jazz?

I didn't start practicing properly until I went to college (Birmingham Conservatoire), I tried to practice at least 2 hours a day, mostly on technique, and then learning as many songs as possible, both the chords and melody, even if you're not going to play the melody it's important to know it!


Question 3 – What advice can you give to other musicians to get the most from their practice routine?

Be honest with yourself, listen to your playing and find what aspects you don't like about it and work on it. Recording yourself can be useful for this. I've always found half an hour of focused practice can be far more beneficial than 4 hours noodling around so having a plan of what you want to cover before you start is essential.


Question 4 - Can you recommend some books that helped you with your studies?

For bass playing my bible is the Simandl series, it's an overall technique that sets you up on the instrument. I have also used the John Goldsby jazz bass book, Ray Browns book and a few others but the most useful has been technique stuff.


Question 5 - Which recording, either as a leader or a sideman, do you think is the best example of your playing?

I guess I'd have to say my first album New Kid as I had the opportunity to choose the music and the musicians, but I'm about to record my second album with my quartet that's been together for a while now so it will be more of a unit and I'm very excited about that.


Question 6 - Do you have a standard procedure for your compositional process?

Not really, I compose mostly at the piano, usually I will have an idea of a phrase or a vibe of a tune and it kind of works itself out from there, then I have to write it down quickly before I forget what I've just done! Occasionally I've had ideas for songs whilst driving and recorded them into my phone and transcribed that when I get home.


Question 7 - What qualities do you look for in your collaborators?

Musicians who want to create great music with me and try to have as much fun as possible doing it, both on and off the bandstand. It's a serious music but has to be enjoyable too!


Question 8 - Name some of your favourite standards and tell me why you like them.

I go through phases with songs, some that have stuck with me are: Like someone in love, I'll be seeing you, our love is here to stay, Moonglow, On the street where you live. Some sequences or melodies are just more fun to play for me I guess, I don't really know why I just like them!


Question 9 – What are some of your desert island discs?

Frank Sinatra/Count Basie Live at the Sands

Oscar Peterson - Exclusively for my Friends

Hank Mobley - Soul Station

Joshua Redman - Live at the Vanguard

Ray Brown - Live at Starbucks


Question 10 - What music are you listening to at the moment?

I'm listening to a lot of Motown at the moment, Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell duo stuff and Donny Hathaway, also a lot of Art Tatum solo stuff.


Question 11 - What motivates you to focus on creative music?

Every time I get on the bandstand with my band it's indescribably fun from start to finish of every set, they motivate me.


Question 12 – Tell me about some of the most memorable gigs you’ve played?

I love touring to see new parts of the world, last year I did a festival in Barbados which is a beautiful setting, and also in Brunei on Borneo so as places to play go that what pretty fun. It's always fun to play with musicians touring from the States because I have an opportunity to play with some of the guys I listen to on records from across the pond, earlier this year I had the chance to do a tour with Logan Richardson who is one of my favourite sax players around now.  


Question 13 - Tell me about some of the most memorable gigs you’ve been to?

Cedar Walton's memorial concert in New York last year was an incredible line up, the Heath Brothers, Jimmy Cobb, Barry Harris, Buster Williams etc. that was amazing. Seeing Christian Mcbride live at Ronnies was an incredible experience for me too.


Question 14 – Tell me about your current equipment set up?

I have a Realist Pickup going into a Markbass Minimark amp and Thomastik Spirocore strings.


Question 15 – Tell me about some musicians you think people should check out?

Mary Stallings I've listened to for years she's an amazing singer with some great records, there's a bunch of great players I've had the chance to see and meet in New York that haven't been heard of over here like Lucas Pino and his nonet, Paul Sikivie is a great bass player over there too. In the UK my favourite bass player is Adam King.


Question 16 - What's your favourite cultural pursuit other than music?

Food, I love cooking and spend most of my spare time doing that.


Question 17 - What do you think of the state of jazz in the UK?

Tough question in this current upheaval of Jazz Services. My first tour was with Jazz Services and I couldn't have done it without there help so I hope that if this redirection of funds does happen that it can be reborn as something greater and more helpful for musicians. It's important to have a setup like that to help young bands get off there feet.


Question 18 - Have you got any tips for jazz promoters?

Book bands you like, if you want to hear it probably other people do too!


Question 19 - What was the last thing you heard that got you excited?

this Donny Hathaway track called Going Down, it's in 5/4 which is really unusual for a soul tune but just really grooves.


Question 20 – Have you got anything you'd like to promote?

I'm about to record my quartet so keep your eyes out for that album and gigs to go with it! visit to see where we'll be playing.