When he was 15, Phil Minton started trumpet lessons in his home town and then, between 1959 and 1961 played with the Brian Waldron Quintet, the resident group at Torquay Town Hall supporting such acts as the Ted Heath Orchestra and B Bumble and the Stingers. On moving to London he played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Orchestra but in 1964 /65 undertook a residency in Los Palmas, Canary Islands, singing and playing trumpet with the English group Jonston Macphilbry. From 1966 he lived in Sweden for five years. On returning to London in 1971, Phil Minton re-joined Mike Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects up to 1990, touring extensively in Europe and playing at major festivals including Adelaide, Edinburgh, New York, Strasbourg and Berlin.
In 1974 Phil Minton began working with experimental theatre groups such as Welfare State and IOU, formed the vocal group Voice with Maggie Nicols and Julie Tippetts in 1975, and from 1976 through the early 1980s he worked solo and in a number of improvising duos with Fred Frith, Roger Turner, Peter Brötzmann and with Günter Christmann's Vario project, touring extensively in Europe and to Russia, the USA and Australia