b. 13 December 1978, Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Towndrow began playing alto saxophone at the age of 12 while at high school in Airdrie, which was then his home. After attending a master class with tenor saxophonist Tommy Smith he began listening to jazz. After graduating from the National Jazz Institute of Scotland and the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, Towndrow spent a year studying at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston, USA. His tutors have included George Garzone and Joe Lovano. A strikingly gifted saxophonist, Towndrow began attracting highly favourable critical and attention and audience acclaim in the early 00s, helped by his self-produced recording debut, First Impressions. In addition to leading his own trio and quartet, he also appears as a member of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Among bands and musicians with whom he has performed are the Bad Plus, playing the music of Ornette Coleman, and Geri Allen. In 2002, he won the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award and was also recipient of a grant from Jazz Services with which to fund a 2003 UK tour with his quartet. In July 2003 he was a finalist at The World Sax Competition at the Montreux International Jazz Festival, winning the Public Prize with most audience votes.
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