Tobias Delius

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Tobias Delius, Moers Festival, 2010
Tobias Delius photo courtesy Seth Tisue

Tobias Delius (born 15 July 1964) is a tenor saxophonist and clarinettist.

Early life[edit]

Delius was born in Oxford, England, on 15 July 1964.[1] His mother was German and his father was Argentine.[2] Delius was brought up largely in England and Germany.[1] He switched from clarinet to tenor saxophone at the age of sixteen, and played with local bands.[1]

Later life and career[edit]

Delius played in Mexico for eight months before joining the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam in 1984.[1] He did not complete his studies there, which included lessons with Misha Mengelberg and Paul Stocker, but developed his reputation with improvisers in the area.[1] He joined Available Jelly in 1989, Trio San Francisco and other bands that included Daniele D'Agaro and Sean Bergin in 1992, and toured with Louis Moholo in 1992–93.[1] He also co-founded a quartet with Han Bennink, Larry Fishkind and Tristan Honsinger in 1990.[1] Fishkind was later replaced by Joe Williamson in this band,[2] which employs a "method of improvising suites utilizing written themes introduced democratically by any member".[3]

Delius was awarded the 2003 VPRO/Boy Edgar Award.[4]

Playing style[edit]

Grove wrote: "Delius produces a sumptuous timbre reminiscent of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, which he combines with a decidedly modern and slippery harmonic and rhythmic conception. He phrases over bar-lines as his harmonic extensions blur the edges of chord changes, and he uses varied dynamics to dramatic effect. He is a consistently deft improviser in both traditional and free settings."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Whitehead, Kevin (2003). "Delius, Tobias [Toby]". Grove Music Online (8th ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b Sharpe, John (16 December 2009). "Tristan Honsinger and Tobias Delius at the Jazzwerkstatt in Berlin". All About Jazz. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  3. ^ Chadbourne, Eugene. "Tobias Delius: The Heron". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Laureates Wessel Ilcken Prijs & VPRO/Boy Edgar Prijs". Music Center The Netherlands. Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011.

External links[edit]