b. Peter John King, 11 August 1940, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, England. Self-taught on several reed instruments, by the late 50s King had established himself as an important and exciting alto saxophonist on the UK jazz scene. Over the next few years he worked with John Dankworth, Tubby Hayes, Stan Tracey and other leading British musicians. He also worked with numerous visiting American artists, ranging stylistically from Ray Charles to Red Rodney, from Jimmy Witherspoon to Hampton Hawes. By the 70s King’s stature had grown until he was on the verge of becoming a major international figure. During the 80s he consolidated his gains and amply fulfilled his potential.
By the 90s, King had established himself as one of the world’s outstanding hard bop alto saxophonists. Playing with a hard-edged brilliant tone, his remarkable agility and technical virtuosity are at the command of an exceptionally fast mind. Although his remarkable imagination and improvisational ability are best displayed on up-tempo tunes he is also a lyrical balladeer. (NB: Not to be confused with reedman Peter King who runs Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London).