Pop/Rock Dance Hiphop Jazz World Classical Contemporary Stage Festival Genre tree


Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Tobias Delius


15-07-1964 - current


improvised, jazz, klarinet, tenorsaxofoon

Tobias Delius

Tobias Delius (Oxford, England, 15 July 1964) starts playing the saxophone whilst living in the German Ruhr region in 1980. In 1983-'84 he receives a music education in Mexico, and in 1984 he moves to Amsterdam to study at the conservatory. Here he meets fellow saxophonist-clarinetist Daniele D'Agaro, with whom ...
Full biography


klarinet, tenorsaxofoon

Mentioned in the biography of

1984   Arjen Gorter
1990   Arnold Dooyeweerd
1996   Sean Bergin
More results Less results

Biography Tobias Delius

Tobias Delius (Oxford, England, 15 July 1964) starts playing the saxophone whilst living in the German Ruhr region in 1980. In 1983-'84 he receives a music education in Mexico, and in 1984 he moves to Amsterdam to study at the conservatory. Here he meets fellow saxophonist-clarinetist Daniele D'Agaro, with whom he embarks upon a lengthy musical friendship, and soon forms a quartet. More and more bands in the Amsterdam improv scene ask him to join. In ensembles like Sean Bergin's MOB, Available Jelly and the ICP Orchestra Delius becomes a vital player, with his highly praised robust tone, building on the tradition of the great jazz tenors. With his own quartet he has been gaining an international reputation since its formation in 1990. In 1990 Tobias Delius is also awarded the Podiumprijs (an award for talent deserving wider recognition) and in 2003 the VPRO/Boy Edgar Prijs (the major Dutch jazz award). In 2007 he moves to Berlin, but he can still be heard with various groups in Dutch jazzclubs regularly.

Played in

Available Jelly   klarinet, tenorsaxofoon
Gravitones   tenorsaxofoon
Instant Composers Pool   klarinet, tenorsaxofoon

1984 - 1985

World citizen Delius (Argentine father, German mother, childhood in England and Germany) arrives in Amsterdam from Mexico, and starts studying at the conservatory. He makes a click with the Italian saxophonist-clarinetist Daniele D'Agaro, and the two start a quartet, featuring bassist Arjen Gorter and the Australian drummer Petro Nykyruj. He also develops a good musical relationship with pianist Michiel Scheen, and the two start a duo.

Arjen Gorter Michiel Scheen


Guitarist Corrie van Binsbergen asks Delius for her group Corrie en de Brokken, of which he will remain a member until 1990. He can be heard on the band's debut album, Alles Beweegt. He moves back to South America for a year, playing in Argentina with the Saluzzi brothers.

Corrie & De Grote Brokken


Band leader Michael Moore includes Delius in the new line-up of his outfit Available Jelly, turning it into a sextet. He remains a vital member of the band, until he quits in 2006, shortly before his move to Berlin. Another sextet which requires his services is the one led by alto saxophonist Paul van Kemenade, who extends his quintet with Delius's arrival into a six piece outfit. The group can be heard on the CD Missacity.

Available Jelly Paul van Kemenade


Tobias Delius starts his own quartet, with the American cellist Tristan Honsinger, his fellow countryman Larry Fishkind on tuba, and drummer Han Bennink. After a while the Canadian bassist Joe Williamson takes over from Fishkind, and thus the group takes on its present form. The quartet engages in open improvisations, where at any given time each of musicians may introduce a new theme to be played. These are generally written by the leader, but also by other band members. In 1997 the ICP label releases the band's debut album: The Heron. Toby's Mloby (1999) and Pelikanismus (2001) are to follow.

Han Bennink Tristan Honsinger


Band leader Sean Bergin asks Delius to join his large band, the MOB. He is featured on the CD Live At The Bimhuis, which is released a year later. When the Amsterdam Bimhuis's artistic director, Huub van Riel organizes a second edition of the international October Meeting, Delius is one of the invited improvisers.

Sean Bergin


D'Agaro and Delius assemble a new version of their quartet and focus on compositions by tenor saxophonist Don Byas, for both of them a hero. The Italian label Nota releases the project on CD, entitled Byas A Drink. Together with fellow saxophonist Sean Bergin Delius tours South Africa in drummer Louis Moholo's band Viva La Black. During the tour they record an album for the Ogun label. The American pianist Curtis Clark, who has been taking part in the Amsterdam jazz scene for a while, invites Delius to join his new quintet (featuring trombonist Wolter Wierbos, bassist Frans van der Hoeven and drummer Han Bennink). A year later Clark turns the band into a septet, adding Daniele D'Agaro and the Australian Felicity Provan on pocket trumpet.

Wolter Wierbos


Trombonist Chris Abelen includes Delius in his new quintet, which records its debut album, Dance of the Penguins, in 1996, followed by What A Romance in 1999. Another trombonist, Joost Buis, also makes use of his services in his large band Astronotes, performing the music of Sun Ra. After a while the band leader starts composing his own repertoire. The debut album Astronotes from 2004 stands to witness.

Chris Abelen Joost Buis


After an MOB concert Delius and his fellow reedists Sean Bergin and Daniele D'Agaro end up in night bar San Francisco at the Amsterdam Zeedijk. When the barkeeper asks them what is inside their instrument cases, they unpack them and start to play. A new trio is born, bearing the name of the establishment: Trio San Francisco. D'Agaro eventually returns to his native Italy, but frequently invites Bergin and Delius (plus drummer Han Bennink) to his own festival by the Adriatic Sea, where they participate in his Adriatics Orchestra.


The Groningen SummerJazzCyclingTour Festival invites Delius and pianist Cor Fuhler for a carte blanche, where they 'try out' a drummer. It turns into a ten years' series; the drummers entering the confrontation with the twosome are: Louis Moholo, Paul Lovens, Dylan van der Schyff, Paal Nilssen Love, Tony Buck, Hamid Drake, Lê Quan Ninh, Paul Lytton, Michael Zerang and Han Bennink. Pianist Frank van Bommel starts a new quartet to play the music of the American pianist Dick Twardzik as well as original compositions. He performs it with bassist Arjen Gorter and drummer Martin van Duynhoven, featuring Tobias Delius as the horn player. Later Van Bommel adds reedist Michael Moore to the group.

Cor Fuhler Frank van Bommel


Together with Cor Fuhler, Eric Boeren, Wilbert de Joode and Wolter Wierbos Delius starts the musicians' collective Stichting dOeK (de Oefening de Kunst). Besides promoting improvised music the initiators have set themselves the goal of organizing an annual festival where the dOeK members present their own groups as well as (incidental) collaborations with international improvisers.

Eric Boeren Wilbert De Joode


With trombonist Hilary Jeffery, bassist Wilbert de Joode and the Senegalese percussionist Serigne Gueye he forms the quartet Apa Ini (Indonesian for 'What is that?'), a collective improvisation group. Their eponymous CD is released by DATA Records a year later.


The VPRO/Boy Edgar Prijs (the major Dutch jazz award) is awarded to Tobias Delius. From the jury report: 'The jury admires this musician's versatility in operating in ever changing musical constellations without ever losing his identity. His musical way of thinking is like a house where all the windows are open to let the air in. In his never ending search for new sounds and options for interpretation he keeps astounding his audience with surprising twists and turns.' For the festival November Music Delius assembles a new sextet: Pingeling, featuring Maartje ten Hoorn (violin), Bart Maris (trumpet), Pat Thomas (keyboards), Joe Williamson (double bass) and Paul Lovens (drums). Another new group taking Delius on board is Cor Fuhler's Corkestra. The nonet records an eponymous CD, released by DATA Records in 2004.


Michiel Scheen and Tobias Delius revive their duo. They play their own original compositions, as well as music by Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk.


Misha Mengelberg, who had already invited Delius as a guest with his ICP Orchestra on occasion, offers him a regular position with his ensemble. The saxophonist can be heard on the CDs Weer Is Een Dag Voorbij and Live At The Bimhuis. Violinist Maartje ten Hoorn asks cornetist Eric Boeren, pianist Achim Kaufmann, bassist Meinrad Kneer and Delius for her new improv group Playstation 6. With the addition of the German drummer Paul Lovens it becomes a sextet, which records a CD for Evil Rabbit Records in January 2006.

Instant Composers Pool Maartje ten Hoorn

2007 - 2008

Tobias Delius decides to settle in Berlin. He has regular gigs with the pianists Aki Takase and Alex von Schlippenbach, trumpeter Axel Dörner, bass clarinetist Rudy Mahall, the percussionists Christian Lillinger and Tony Buck, and the bassist of his own quartet, Joe Williamson.

Discography Tobias Delius

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Tobias Delius

Audio/Video Tobias Delius

No audio- or video material is yet available.
Add audio or video

Add audio or video

Muziekencyclopedie.nl on Facebook Muziekencyclopedie.nl on Twitter