One of Britainís most prolific film and television composers, Colinís name has graced the credits of many prestigious and popular features. For further information on this area of Colinís work please go to: www.colintowns.com
London-born Colin Towns began his music career playing piano in various UK-based jazz ensembles. Since then he has gone on to several of the most innovative and exciting big bands in Europe - including the Hamburg based NDR Big Band and the Colin Towns Mask Orchestra.
Formed in 1990, the Colin Towns Mask Orchestra is a rhythmically infectious 19-piece big band presenting some of the greatest and most important new and established players in jazz today. Band members over the years have included: Dave Hartley, Julian Arguelles, Alan Skidmore, Nigel Hitchcock, Henry Lowther, John Parricelli, Ian Thomas and Guy Barker.
The Mask Orchestra in it's many incarnations have now released seven highly successful albums for Provocateur Records and they are regarded as one of the most dynamic and original ensembles in European jazz.
ĎBy providing an outlet for the jazz composing and arranging skills of Colin Towns, The Mask Orchestra has brought a wholly individual voice, imbued with freshness and vitality, to the European scene.í BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
Colin has also recorded albums with Hamburgís NDR Bigband. 2001's The Theatre Of Kurt Weill was released on ACT Records to major critical and commercial success. To date it has been performed in Chicago, London, Hamburg, Berlin and Bilbao. Colin has also collaborated with the NDR for many other releases including Lend Me Your Ears (an album full of Colinís own compositions which was released in 2006) and vocalist Norma Winstoneís album Itís Later Than You Think (also released 2006). An 8 date UK tour celebrated these releases.
As an arranger, Colin has been involved with the likes of Michael Brecker, Christof Lauer, Norma Winstone and the Guy Barker/Sting collaboration 'You Don't Know What Love Is.'
Since 2003 Colin has also made regular appearances as a guest composer, conductor and arranger with the Orchestra Jazz della Sardegna (featuring vocalist Maria Pia DeVito).
Other projects include a collaboration with world-acclaimed choreographer David Bintley on a new production of Orpheus for the Birmingham Royal Ballet. The Mask orchestra played for the ballet which premiered at Birmingham Hippodrome that October and moved onto London Sadlerís Wells and Plymouth Theatre Royal. Provocateur released the album The Orpheus Suite that Autumn and received CD of the week in The Observer and The Guardian. The production toured again during Spring 2008.
At the end of 2005 Colin was commissioned by the Hessischer Rundfunk Bigband in Frankfurt to arrange, record and perform a Mahavishnu Orchestra project. The project featured original drummer Billy Cobham and toured in Germany during January 2006 where it was recorded for CD release. A headlining slot at Novermberís Berlin Jazz Festival celebrated the German CD release Meeting Of The Spirits. The CD was then released in the UK the following Spring. March 2008 saw Colin, Billy, and an all star septet perform the project in Australia with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Summer 2008, Colin was once again commissioned by the Hessicher Rundfunk Bigband to arrange and perform the music of Miles Davisí electric period. The concert was broadcast live in June and a CD followed which was released during Autumn 2009.
In October 2009 Colin travelled to Sweden to tour his arrangements of Cole Porter's music entitled Donít Fence Me In with The Bohuslan Bigband and Nils Landgren. The album has was released on ACT records and toured again in 2011.
In 2010 Colin arranged, recorded and toured a programme of John Lennon's music. The album John Lennon - In My Own Write was released by Provocateur Records. He than began writing for his new 6 piece electronic band Blue Touch Paper, who released their debut album 'Stand Well Back' in March 2012, turning heads and prompting ecstatic reviews. Formed in 2010 with German and UK musicians, the writing/recording took two years to complete. Their second album 'Drawing Breath', released October 2013, continued the Blue Touch Paper soundscape, with elements of jazz, rock, electronic and classical music once again demonstrating an adventurous, visionary and powerful way forward.