Since graduating from the renowned Trinity College of Music in 2012, award-winning alto saxophonist Tom Harrison has been busy establishing himself as one of the UK's rising star instrumentalists. Harrison's lifelong love of music began as a chorister in a cathedral choir. With a busy rehearsal and performance schedule, he learned about the power of music to reach people, and the time and dedication it takes to succeed. Growing up, Harrison discovered the spirit of the blues, picked up a guitar and never looked back. Important early influences were BB King, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. Tom's fascination with the music of Hendrix eventually lead to his discovery of jazz, and subsequently the saxophone. Tom's debut album 'DAGDA' was recorded while still studying at Trinity. Released on Lyte Records in April 2012 the album featured Irish tenor sax star Michael Buckley, who also produced the record. The release was championed by Jazz Messenger and international star of tenor saxophone jean Toussaint, who wrote in the liner notes; â€œThe melodies are strong, singable and always engaging. Tom is a talented and thoughtful young musician. I congratulate him on his creation of this inspiring work, his debut, and look on with great interest at his pilgrimage on the creative Modern Jazz path.â€ Jean's support and encouragement sparked a collaboration that still continues to this day. The album was launched with a UK tour which was made possible by a very generous grant from Arts Council England and Jazz Services. Harrison's quartet performed 22 dates in all corners of the UK, several of which included appearances from mentor Toussaint, as well as other internationally regarded tenor saxophonists. The album was well received by the media, described as "impressive" by Jazzwise and "a strong calling card" by All About Jazz. Following the success of his debut album, 2013 saw appearances at Wigan and Scarborough Jazz Festivals, as well as a 14-date tour of Ireland in collaboration with Irish drummer David Lyttle. 2013 also saw Harrison's first appearance with 90s pop star and songwriter Heather Small and M-People, as well as the iconic Mancunian indie group The Fall. Early 2014 heralded another national tour for Harrison, this time as leader of a standards quartet featuring now regular collaborator and friend David Lyttle, as well as Leeds-based guitarist and jazz educator Jamie Taylor. Spring saw an appearance with UK vocalist Cleveland Watkiss at the Derry Jazz Festival, Northern Ireland. Soon after, Harrison was invited to tour with American trumpet icon and Village Vanguard Orchestra leader Terell Stafford. His time as a sideman with the New York-resident was hugely influential, reigniting his early love of the blues and melody. Also during this time came a commission from Birmingham Jazz to arrange and compose Harrison's Film Music Project, which featured Steinway artist and multi-award-winning pianist Robert Mitchell. Autumn 2014 saw another milestone for Harrison. Featured as a guest soloist on David Lyttle's MOBO-Nominated album 'Faces,' Tom can be heard on a track featuring American rapper and underground hip-hop star Talib Kweli. 2015 saw another UK tour featuring Head of Jazz Studies at the prestigious Leeds College of Music, Jamil Sheriff, as well as headline appearances at Derry Jazz Festival London Jazz Festival with a new Quintet featuring trumpet player Quentin Collins, performing the music of Blue Note artist Sonny Fortune.
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