Tam de Villiers was born in England in 1979 and spent his childhood partly in South Africa, partly in England and mostly in Scotland. He first became involved with music at age 4 playing the violin and then piano a few years later. At the age of 15 he began learning guitar and initially took classes with renowned Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith.
He then studied at Leeds College of Music, attaining his Masters Degree in 2001, and was immediately hired to teach and give workshops at the College on the same course. During this time he also toured with his own groups and gained further experience in a large ensemble context playing in Tommy Smith’s adult and youth big bands.
In 2003, Tam moved to Paris. In order to make connections and meet other young musicians on the French scene. Since then he has had several influential meetings and collaborations with musicians such as Marc Ducret, Stephane Payen, and Fabrizio Cassol who have inspired his playing and his writing.
He continues to be a very active artist on the European scene, and last year was featured in a special interview and article in Jazz Mag with journalist Franck Bergerot.
AS A LEADER, HE HAS RELEASED THREE ALBUMS :
He released his first album « Alba Lux » in 2008 with a quartet with a quartet comprised of some of the best new talent in the Paris scene, Karl Jannuska, David Prez and Bruno Schorp (replaced by Frédéric Chiffoleau in 2013). His quartet explores a thouroughly electric soundscape, incorporating counterpoint and multi layered rhythms and touches upon the world of progressive rock, just as much as that of jazz and improvised music The CD received excellent reviews from the jazz press (Jazzman, Jazz Magazine, Citizen Jazz, Culture Jazz, Jazzwise…). In September 2009, he participated with his quartet in the famous Trophées du Sunside Jazz Competition, and received 1st prize for Best Soloist.
In October 2011, he released his quartet’s second album « Motion Unfolding » with guest singer, David Linx. This CD was released on the German label Double Moon Records, was given the « RÉVÉLATION! » award in Jazz Mag and received praise from the prestigious German magazines Jazzthing and Jazzpodium.
His third and latest quartet album « Panacea » featuring Hungarian singer Gabor Winand was released on Whirlwind Recordings in March 2015 and coincided with an extensive 20 date tour of Europe. The album is his most highly rated yet, receiving the CHOC award from Jazz Mag, prompted a special artist feature in the magazine, and also garnered excellent critiques from press notably in the UK, France and Germany.
The group continues to tour in Europe and abroad, including a two-week tour in India in November 2016.
OTHER COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS :
« Capsule » another chamber composition project with British pianist Matthew Bourne, and French clarinettist Jean-Brice Godet that has was awarded the « Jazz Shuttle » AJC grant for its creation.
AS A SIDE-MAN :
The progressive jazz-rock quintet, « OZMA », including their other productions – WW1 photo-concert « 1914-1918, D’autres Regards », and the cine-concert project based on the Buster Keaton movie “The Three Ages” .