Take Five With TOMKO

AAJ Staff By

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Tomko is a songwriter, singer, and saxophonist from San Francisco. His TOMKO TRIO is touring with Y. Capelle on drums, B. Ribiere on Hammond organ, and Tomko on sax and vocals. His new CD, From Miles Lane to Tchui Road, is available soon! Also, two CDs with the TOMKO QUINTET are out: Is that Jazz and Tomko Live. He was a sideman with several French names (Gun Morgan, Hot Jungle) as saxophonist and backup singer before forming his first band, Wind Crazy, in France with Frank Curier and Michel Alibo, then "Shajazz" (with Renato Cantele, Massimo Tuzza) in Italy. "Shajazz" toured with "Ella Armstrong."

He worked with Sanginetto's group "Firefly," then "ARMED GANG" as lead singer. He recorded two top ten singles, "Keep On Groovin" and "Everybody Celebrate." He opened up one of the first private recording studios in Italy and started working with members of the Italian group "I Pooh," with Renato Cantele as sound tech. He produced and played on Il Fagocitato and Insania, plus sound track albums for films presented at the Venice film festival.

Back in San Francisco, he worked with local groups (White Teeth, Nobody Famous, Jorge Santana) then recorded first 45 under his own name (Highway 101). He formed the band "West Coast" in France which recorded 45 (West Coast, I Was a Fool). National radio airplay won them the "Jacques Brel" prize at the "Francophonies" and went on to open for "ANGE," "Hughes Aufrey" and other French name bands.

Singer/saxophonist with the duo Two Much. Opened for DAVE, Liane Foly, G. Montagné, Danny Brillant, Emile et Images, P. Fiori, etc. He works in Paris studios along side Frank Curier (Compagnie Creole) and Michel Alibo (SIXUN) and also fronts the band "MOKO," (rhythm & blues), from Rouen and "Weed Spirit" from Poitiers.


Sax, vocals.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I saw Dave Clark Five with a sax.

Your sound and approach to music:


Your teaching approach:

I'd rather be a student.

Your dream band:

Steely Dan.

Favorite venue:

Anywhere in Bretagne.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Highway 101. It's the only one that makes any money!

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Strange travel stories.

Did you know...

I grew up in Kenya.

CDs you are listening to now:

John Mayer;

Herbie Hancock, The Joni Letters;

Cassandra Wilson;

George Duke and Al Jarreau.

Desert Island picks:

George Duke, Illusions;

Weather Report, Weather Report;

Quincy Jones, Back on the Block;

Tears for Fears;

Steely Dan, Gaucho.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?


What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Pay musicians a decent wage.

What is in the near future?

New CD and stage review for upcoming all original material.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:


Photo Credit

Courtesy of TOMKO.

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