b. 9 September 1966, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England. Tomlinson grew up in Northumberland, then attended Oxford University where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Meanwhile, he was playing clarinet and saxophones, mostly the tenor, and developing his interest in jazz. In his post graduate year he studied at London’s Guildhall School of Music and began to establish himself on the local jazz scene. His reputation quickly spread and he was soon working with noted musicians, including Matt Wates, David Newton and Michael Garrick, recording with the latter on his 1997 session For Love Of Duke And Ronnie.
In the 90s he was frequently leader of his own quartet, touring extensively in the UK. He is often in the musical company of singer Stacey Kent, to whom he is married, appearing on her very well-received albums for Candid Records. Tomlinson’s playing on tenor is immensely satisfying. He has a heartfelt way with ballads, plays with driving intensity of up-tempo pieces, and as an accompanist to Kent has proved himself to be supportive, understanding and lyrically inventive. Tomlinson is a musician who has ably carried the flame of mainstream tenor saxophone playing into the new century.