Born in 1972 and from Shepperton, Middx, Gary Willcox started playing the drums when he was 10 years old. Under his Father’s partial influence he quickly became immersed in the great jazz drummers Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, Max Roach and the jazz tradition.
In the late 1980’s Gary started studies with Trevor Tomkins, a renowned drum teacher in the UK. These studies continued until the mid 1990’s.
Concurrently, Gary studied orchestral percussion at the Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff, under the tutorship of Chris Stock, Principal Percussionist of the BBC National Orch. of Wales.
During his time there he also had lessons with Pete Fairclough and Keith Tippett who introduced him to the wider world of Improvised Music.
Since the Mid 90’s Gary has performed around the UK and Europe with Jim Mullen, Stan Sulzmann, Ian Shaw, Chris Batchelor, Iain Ballamy, Polly Gibbons, to name a few.
In 2007 Gary joined the Way Out West Collective, a body of musicians based in the West London area who collaborate to promote regular Jazz events in that area. The collective includes some of the UK’s foremost jazz performers – Tim Whitehead, Chris Biscoe, Emily Saunders, Kate Williams, Pete Hurt, Tony Woods
Also in 2007 started his own band, performing his own compositions and arrangements of material by some of his musical heroes, e.g. Charlie Parker, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Thelonious Monk. The band includes Oli Hayhurst on double bass & Steve Main on saxes.
The band has a strong ‘Contemporary Straight Ahead’ sound.
From 2015 Gary has been a member of Loz Speyer’s Inner space music. The band toured at the end of 2015 and recorded an album ‘Life on The Edge’, released on Leo Records.
This band straddles jazz and improvised music . taking influences from the likes of Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra.
The band has toured extensively around the UK over the course of two tours in 2015 & 2018, supported by Arts Council England
“…….a brisk, sensitive drummer capable of great dynamic and textural range…..”
Chris Parker, Vortex Review
”…….inspiring and in the moment playing, love it” – Jerry Bergonzi
Like many musicians, Gary has experience as an educator, teaching drums and percussion and leading ensembles of children and young adults both privately and via music services.