b. 12 May 1941, London, England. As a young teenager Tomkins first took up the trombone before switching to the drums on which he made his first professional appearance. Although he studied extensively, mostly in the classical vein, he was deeply interested in jazz and in the early 60s moved permanently into this field, working often with the small group co-led by Ian Carr and Don Rendell. He spent some time in the USA but from the 70s onwards became one of the most sought-after jazz drummers in the UK, where he has played with Michael Garrick, Barbara Thompson, Mike Westbrook and others. He is also in demand as accompanist to American jazzmen visiting the UK, amongst them Lee Konitz. A gifted mainstream and bop drummer, Tomkins’ studies, which encompassed harmony and music theory, allied to a wealth of experience, have given him enviable command. His technical accomplishment is complemented by a subtle sense of swing and the ability to anticipate and fulfil the demands of the musicians he accompanies. He is also a much respected teacher.
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