Tim Giles: Drums, Electronics, Composition

Jazz drummer Tim Giles is a BBC Jazz Award-winning performer and composer.  Living in London, he is known for his collaborations with saxophonist James Allsopp, Riaan Vosloo, Stan Sulzmann and other key members of the UK jazz scene.

A musical prodigy (winning a Telegraph Young Composer Award aged twelve), Tim started out by sitting-in with jazz musicians that visited his home county of Suffolk. Whilst still in his pre-teens Tim formed his own trio, which was heard by saxophonist Iain Ballamy.  This led to Iain asking Tim to play in a Ronnie Scott’s residency aged 14 as part of the nascent Hungry Ants.  Recordings and touring followed, fitting in around the obligatory school calendar. Soon, Tim was performing internationally at events such as the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, and St Louis Jazz Festival, Senegal (providing support for Joe Zawinul amongst others).  He left school at sixteen, and then moved to London to be a full-time musician.

After several years successful freelancing, playing with the likes of Stan Sulzmann, Kenny Wheeler and Julian Arguelles, Tim was forced to put performing to one side due to severe RSI from drumming. At an age when most musicians were beginning their performing career, his seemed to be ending.  However, this experience gave Tim the opportunity to focus on composition. Whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Tim met saxophonist James Allsopp. The two musicians connected in their aims to blend improvisation with composed music, and in spring 2005 Allsopp and Giles formed the 5tet Fraud, co-composing and co-leading the band.  Tim used an electronic drumpad to trigger pre-recorded samples, and FX units to process the sounds in real time.  The breakthrough gig for Fraud came at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival as part of the Jerwood Rising Stars programme, which was voted Best Gig 2006 by Jazzwise magazine. Their debut album ‘Fraud’ was nominated for “Album of The Year” at the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards and the duo received the award for “Best New Act” at the 2007 Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Awards. By this point, Tim had (through his study of the Alexander Technique) returned to full drumming capacity, performing both electronics and live drums within the band. In July 2008, Fraud won the BBC Jazz on 3 Award for Innovation, with their performance at the award ceremony subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Since his well-received return to performance, Tim has worked with a number of established bands and artists including Ben Lamdin’s Nostalgia 77, James Allsopp’s The Golden Age of Steam, Stan Sulzmann’s Neon Quartet and Neon Orchestra, Iain Ballamy, Ed Jones, Matt Bourne and Jamie Cullum, also co-leading the bands Leverton Fox and Twelves. He has been interviewed in publications from Jazzwise to Time Out, and performed in live and studio broadcasts for BBC Radio 2 and 3, and alternative-radio stations such as Resonance FM.  He leads drumming and jazz workshops across the UK, and is a qualified teacher of the Alexander Technique.  Tim was recently included in the Royal Academy of Music’s Honours List for 2016, becoming an Associate of the Academy (awarded to select former students who have distinguished themselves in their field). Tim lives in Walthamstow, London with his wife, jazz vocalist Sara Mitra, and their three young children.

“Cutting edge jazz drummer Tim Giles “ The Daily Telegraph 

“Fraud is, frankly, brilliant… (the) album is scary and thrilling and it swings.” John Gill, Wire Magazine critic

“high energy and powerful… In fact, across the album as a whole it’s Giles who impresses most—he’s always empathic, never overwhelming” Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz

“restless and imaginative drumming” The List

“Giles’s remorseless groove”  John Fordham, The Guardian

“Giles slipped from softly dreamlike dynamics to a lightning crack with pace to boot”  London Jazz News