Tom Wilkins was originally trained classically by the concert pianist, Alan Brown, in New York in the 60's, but his real musical love-affair has been with jazz. He feels fortunate to have been able to continue developing his musical interests while pursuing a variety of other careers, including a stint as a high school science teacher and one as the owner/manager of a wholesale plant nursery. Most recently he has returned to school where he studying to be a Nurse Practitioner.

Over the past 20 years, Tom has had the opportunity to perform with several notable Seattle area musicians at various venues around the Northwest, and in 1993 and 1996 was a featured performer in the Panache Series at the Blue Heron Arts Center on Vashon.

He began a collaboration with trumpeter Richard Person in 1988. Both musicians discovered they shared a passion for jazz that stemmed from early childhood. Tom came from a household steeped in the sounds of Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and had a dad who lulled him to sleep with blues and swing-era tunes. His collaboration with Richard led to the formation of the Island Jazz Ensemble in 1993. Through an evolution of jam sessions in Tom's living room, gigs, and serendipitous encounters, this group later became the Island Jazz Quintet in 1999.


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