Tony Marsh first came to prominence in the Seventies with the jazz-rock group Major Surgery. Developing its compositions from group improvisations, it became a major innovator in this area of jazz. The break up of Major Surgery in 1979 saw Tony teaching percussion and playing cabaret gigs in Londons Soho.

The Eighties were a productive period, providing many opportunities for recording and tours with Mike Osborne, John Surman, Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford, Barry Guy, Howard Riley, Elton Dean, Yves Robert and Didier Levallet. A trio with Simon Picard and Paul Rogers grew into the Mingus inspired band 7RPM.

Tony joined the Mike Westbrook Brass Band in 1982, recording On Duke's Birthday (featuring Dominique Pifarley) in 1983 and combining with Le Sinfonietta de Picardie in 1988 to record London Bridge is Broken Down. A long association with Harry Beckett in his Quartet and Flugelhorn Band has produced several records and a trio CD with Didier Levallet: a new CD with Harry Beckett is due for imminent release. Another long term association is with the improvising quartet Full Monte, with Chris Biscoe (saxes), Brian Godding (guitar and guitar synth) and Marcio Mattos (bass), with whom he has toured extensively and released two CDs.

He has recently been gigging and recording with bassist Nick Stephens and saxophonist Frode Gerstadt.


MAJOR SURGERY - The First Cut - Next Records

HARRY BECKETT - Pictures of You - Virgin Venture

DIDIER LEVALLET - Quiet Days - Evidence

MIKE WESTBROOK ORCHESTRA - On Duke's Birthday - Hat-ART CD 6021

Mike Westbrook - piano. Tony Marsh - drums. Steve Cook - bass. Brian Godding - guitar. Dominique Pifarely - violin. Georgie Born - cello. Chris Biscoe - saxophones. Danilo Terenzi - trombone. Kate Westbrook - tenor horn, piccolo, bamboo flute, voice. Phil Minton - trumpet, voice. Stuart Brooks - trumpet.


RILEY-CASTRONARI-MARSH - Wishing on the moon - FMR CD14-V0595

Howard Riley - piano. Mario Castronari - bass. Tony Marsh - drums

Recorded at The Premises, London on 24 May 1993.

1 The end is the beginning

2 Hymn II

3 Spiritual cleavage II

4 Legends

5 Canary stampede

6 I wished on the moon

7 Underwater creatures

8 Time and again

9 You'd be so nice to come home to

10 Up-and-coming crucefix

11 Two to ten


David Ilic - City Limits magazine - January 1990

It was bebop which first laid the ground for what is now widely regarded as one of the great jazz institutions - that of the piano-bass-drums trio. And with such institutional status come rather inevitable and strict groundrules. Messrs Howard Riley, Mario Castronari and Tony Marsh, one of the most consumate such assemblies I’ve heard in years, open the windows on tradition, allowing a bracing, fresh breeze to sweep round and recharge the elements of familiarity. Feathers, the trio’s current album on Spotlite, uses a variety of means to focus the trio’s improvisations ranging from thematic headers and footers to just plain intuition (a standard is also thrown in for good measure). Although essentially fashioned collectively, it is Riley’s piano which leaves the deepest imprint; not only the familiars of the Monk-Powell vocabulary, but also elements from contemporary classicism are drawn into the trio’s rotund experience. Allow yourself to be wooed by their charms.


MIKE WESTBROOK - London Bridge is Broken Down - Virgin Venture

HARRY BECKETT - Four for One - Spotlite

HASLAM - Level Two - Slam 1988

FULL MONTE - Life in the Grand Hotel - Walking Wig

BECKETT-LEVALLET-MARSH - Images of Clarity - Evidence


Picard-Rogers-Marsh - News from the North - 1993 - Intakt CD 028

Simon Picard - tenor saxaphone. Paul Rogers - bass. Tony Marsh - drums.

1 Liver Friction

2 Plump but Expansive

3 Nervy

4 Nautic

5 Shenanigan

6 Volute

7 Temporal

8 Acoustic Wonders

9 B'Zoo

10 News from the North

11 In Toto

FULL MONTE - Spark in the Dark - Slam 1994 - SLAMCD 209

Chris Biscoe - alto sax, soprano sax, alto clarinet. Brian Godding - Roland GR50 guitar synth, Yamaha sound sources. Marcio Mattos - double bass. Tony Marsh - drums, cymbals.

1 Bubbling Marsh

2 Spark in the Dark

3 Mogadonic Tonic

4 Lift Life

5 Grand Hotel Ascenseur

6 Spiritual Cleavage II

7 Wind Dance


Simon Adams - Jazz Journal

The four members of Full Monte - ex-pats from various Mike Westbrook bands - are catholic in their musical tastes, encompassing everything from free improvisation through orthodox swing to jazz rock. They are also remarkably democratic in performance, equal contributors to the work in hand. What results is very engaging. The title track is impressionistic and sparky, the guitar synth of Brian Godding well integrated into the whole as it sends out abrupt chiming runs to disturb the even flow. Mattos’s double bass is heard to good effect on Lift Life, while Biscoe is both fluent and mercurial in performance, his contributions always surprising in the directions they take. With Tony Marsh ever inventive, the four turn in a set that, while rigorously uncommercial in appeal, is nonetheless highly enjoyable, a timely reminder that sparks can fly from every direction.

Humphrey Lyttelton - BBC Radio 2

To me it embodies the blues influence, the passion and the inspired interaction on the very best of jazz.

Barry Witherden The Wire June 1994

The members of Full Monte have covered many musical waterfronts in their careers. On Spark in the Dark, the flotsam, jetsam and treasure troves they have collected over the years are forged into a constantly engaging set of open ended improvisation, ranging from abstract impressionism to melted down riffs, and there is never a dull moment. I have heard Biscoe in a number of contexts, making distinguished contributions to groups led by Mike Westbrook, Chris McGregor, George Russell and Andy Sheppard, but I don’t think he has ever been heard to better advantage than here. Not that his playing, excellent though it is, dominates: this is group music and each member of the quartet plays intensely and listens intently, creating an album crammed with demanding but rewarding improvisation.

Chris Parker Crescendo International

True to the name, Full Monte produced a series of full-blooded wholly absorbing sound sculptures, Godding and Biscoe taking full advantage of the superb platform provided by the power and sophistication of Mattos and Marsh to create a music of great dynamic and textural variety.

John Fordham The Guardian

Full Monte is a quartet formed in 1988, partly out of encounters made within the Mike Westbrook Orchestra, and features the subtle and intelligent saxophonist Chris Biscoe with texturally-imaginative guitarist Brian Godding and a fine bass/drums partnership in Marcio Mattos and Tony Marsh. The background of these four players embraces virtually all manifestations of jazz over the past twenty years, from free-improvisation to jazz rock, and they take advantage of that catholicity in their work, playing as a flexible, spontaneous and genuinely even-handed emsemble.

John Fordham The Guardian (reviewing the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra)

Tony Marsh - one of the most compelling exponents of a mingled jazz and free time since the departure of Tony Oxley from these shores.


CROWTHER-FRANKLIN-MARSH - Shell of Certainty - Visionlogic 1999 - VLG101

Tim Crowther - guitar & guitar synth. Steve Franklin - bass. Tony Marsh - drums

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CROWTHER-FRANKLIN-MARSH - Amherst Dislodged - SLAM 2005 - SLAMCD 263

Tim Crowther - guitar & guitar synth. Steve Franklin - bass. Tony Marsh - drums

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