Fascinated by his second album „Cool Down“, i had to do a short interview with saxophone player Tommy Tornado. Welcome di man from Amsterdam, who has „blown more air through his mouthpiece than he has exhaled normally.“
When and why did you start playing Saxophone?
Tommy Tornado: I start to play the (alto)saxophone when i was 8 year olds, but i always wanted to play the tenor sax. I changed from alto to tenor when i was big enough to carry the instrument (14 years old). I fell in love with the saxophone after hearing the big fat sound of Ben Webster!
Have you tried other instruments before or though about singing?
I tried singing in the shower, but that wasn’t a big succes. When i made the demos for „Sunrise“ and „Cool Down“, i played some piano, bass, guitar and drums.
You play Jazz as well as Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae. How come? Classic story of parents with a huge record collection?
Hi hi, no, i just started my own record collection at a very young age. It all began with a 45 single from Ray Charles „One Mind Julep“. What a sound! What a voice! My record collection is for 90% „black“ music, the rest is some pop music and classic music.
What’s your first love: Jazz or Ska / Rocksteady?
Jazz, Soul, Rhythm and Blues. I used to listen to saxophonists like Lester Young, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, and honkers like Big Jay McNeely. I tried to copy their fat sound, their melodies, their rhythm by listening to their records over and over again.
On your solo debut „Sunrise“ you played along with the likes of Dennis Alcapone, Rico Rodriguez and Ernest Ranglin, who are Jamaican heros. Your second album „Cool Down“ comes with less known artists.
When we recorded „Sunrise“, we we’re touring with those artists. So after a gig or after a rehearsel i asked them to sing or play something on my record. Luckly they did. During the recording of „Cool Down“, we were not playing at all. So that’s why i asked other nice singers to join me like Ebou Gaya Mada, Tobias Loudmouth and Awwa.
If you could play one concert with the musicians you love the most, who would be in your band?
- Burning Spear – Vocals
- The Congos – Backing Vocals
- Rico Rodriguez – Trombone
- Roland Alphonso – Tenor Sax
- Lester Sterling – Alto Sax
- Jackie Mittoo – Piano\Organ
- Ernest Ranglin – Guitar
- Aston Barret – Bass
- Carlton Barret – Drums
- Lee Perry – Sound Engineer
About Tommy Tornado
Thomas „Tommy Tornado“ Streutgers is one of Europe’s leading saxophone players in Ska / Rocksteady / Reggae. In 2010 he released his first solo album „Sunrise“, followed up by a second album „Cool Down“ in 2012. Tommy Tornado plays in four bands, runs his own booking agency and teaches saxophone in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Find more information at www.tommytornado.com.