Phil Bancroft | About
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Phil Bancroft: Biog



A major figure on the Scottish Music scene for over 30 years- Phil Bancroft first stuck his head above the proverbial parapet in the late 80’s as saxophonist and main composer for the seminal John Rae Collective,

One of the most important groups in the history of music round these parts.
The Herald 2014

before forging a reputation in influential Scottish bands such as Celtic Feet, award-winning Trio AAB, Colin Steele’s Stramash, the SNJO. He has since performed at the highest level with musicians from across the pop, jazz, classical and Celtic music scenes.

He is currently working with Greg Lawson’s Grit Orchestra, Paul Harrison’s Sugarwork, leads his own Quartet with Graeme Stephen, Alyn Cosker and Calum Gourlay, and is mixing a new album with Tabla virtuoso Gyan Singh, recorded in Delhi in December 2017.


Phil has developed a truly authentic voice on saxophone, combining the study of Jazz, Celtic, Indian and Classical music- to produce a unique mix of virtuosity, expressive sound and heart-felt conviction.

From the world of jazz, he has performed with luminaries Sun Ra, Kenny Wheeler, Oliver Lake, Ernst Reisinger and Joe Lovano- and he has composed music and developed multi-media for his own small and large ensemble projects.

These include the multi-media show ‘Small As The World’, exploring the meaning of ‘Home’ with 7-piece band, interactive website, musicians joining-in over live Skype feeds from around the world and animated tin-foil space ships.

Collaborations have crossed musical and geographical boundaries, including those with bassist Reid Anderson (US/Bad Plus), drummer Thomas Strønen (Norway), guitarist Mike Walker (England), Carnatic violinists Ganesh and Kumaresh Rajagopalan (India), and West African musicians- master drummer Okoe Ardyfio (Ghana) and Singer and Ngoni virtuoso Siaka Diarra (Burkina Faso).

Phil recent work includes albums with fiddler Aidan O’Rourke of Lau fame (An Tobar, Hotline), and multiple projects with guitarist Graeme Stephen including performing live soundtracks to silent movies such as Graeme’s award-winning score for Mernau’s Sunrise.

He is a featured soloist in the Grit Orchestra celebrating Martyn Bennett’s music.

Phil studied Medicine and Psychology at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities and worked for 10 years part-time as a hospital doctor and Psychiatrist before concentrating on music composition, performance and education.

Phil has taught saxophone and improvisation at undergraduate and post-graduate levels at the RSAMD, and Napier and Newcastle Universities, and taught on numerous jazz courses.

Phil is currently writing a book on philosophy, music, musical form and the brain, and he is inspired by many things including Malloch and Trevarthen’s work in Communicative Musicality.

His wife Jude is a herbalist and a farmer, his son Angus is aged 8 and he cycles with his dog Jenny.

I met two brothers called Bancroft, They’re good!
Sun Ra, writing in The Guardian
As good as anything coming out of New York...
Penguin Guide To Jazz Recordings
A significant figure in the ascent of the Scottish new-jazz scene
The Guardian
Kaleidoscopic, freewheeling beauty…
BBC Website