Island to Island
Greg Lyons was born in Tynemouth, England, on the 11th of August 1958. His musical explorations began early, influenced by his parents' love of jazz and classical music, but did not become the focus of his energies until he discovered rock music via the bass guitar at the age of 13. After working his way through the rock and R&B repertoire of the 70's he rediscovered jazz through the music of Weather Report. This gradually pulled him towards the saxophone to which he switched while living in Germany in the late 70's. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA and returned to London in 1983 where he started working with bands such as Grand Union, Loose Tubes, and quartets/quintets under his own direction. In 1984, a year in the Canary Islands started a long-standing relationship with all things Latin, leaving him with a strong affinity for Brazilian and Latin music that has pervaded his subsequent work. Back in London he worked with El Sonido de Londres, Sambatucada, Roberto Pla, touring with Cuban exiles Alfredo Rodriguez, Patato Valdes and Bebo Valdez (father of Chucho). He continued to lead his own bands in London until his move to Malaysia in 1993 where he was one of the founders of the fusion band Face First who recorded their debut album in 1996, produced by Eric Marienthal and distributed internationally by Universal. He began his teaching activities in 1995 at the International College of Music in Kuala Lumpur, where he began to nurture a new generation of composer/improvisers. He now teaches mainly privately but continues to perform and teach in masterclasses around the world. His strengths are in his ear-training approach to building an improviser's vocabulary, and a melodic approach to jazz harmomy and writing. In his years in South East Asia, he has written for and led bands ranging in size from trios to 19-piece big bands. He has recorded a well-received CD 'Island To Island' with his quintet, and is in the process of completing a CD featuring his 9-piece ensemble. His regular collaborators in the region include drummer Lewis Pragasam, percussionist Steve Thornton, pianists Michael Veerapen, Mac Chew, Mei Sheum and Michael Stanton, bassists Christy Smith and Andy Peterson, singer Angelita Li, and guitarist Eugene Pao. Others that he occasionally brings into the mix include Finnish pianist Jarmo Savolainen, British trumpeter Damon Brown, and US guitarist Randy Bernsen. Others with whom he has performed include: Toninho Horta, Billy Cobham, Eric Marienthal, Phil Manzanera, Radio Futura, Siti Nurhaliza, Lee Hom, Sheila Majid, Terumasa Hino.