Professor of Saxophone for the Royal Marines, Simon Bates is known and respected for his stylistic versatility and instrumental prowess. Musical Director for Rick Astley’s re-launch tour in September, Simon is in great demand on the London jazz and session scene - his playing features on countless adverts, film scores, TV theme tunes and pop records. Simon has appeared live and recorded with a wide variety of bands and musicians including Elvis Costello, Lulu, Billy Ocean, Rick Wakeman, D:Ream, Chaka Khan, Emma Bunton, Seal and Peter Erskine. He has performed around the world in a wide variety of settings from the Q.E.2. and Eiffel Tower to Ronnie Scotts and the Jazz Cafe.
Simon appears frequently on television in programmes such as ‘Johnny Vaughan Tonight’ for which he was Musical Director and was featured on Channel 4’s Big Breakfast every Friday. Some of Simon’s compositions have appeared on the ITV show ‘This Morning’ and on the Discovery Channel. He has also written many advertising jingles, a multitude of library music, commissions from other bands and musicians and cues for all television networks.
Simon’s extraordinary ability to play virtually any instrument in the woodwind family plus windsynth and percussion in any style has led to regular appearances in West-End shows such as Starlight Express, Follies, Chicago and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Simon started to learn the violin at school but the draw of his father's old clarinet was too much, and so he started to have lessons. With the intense competition of his twin brother, (now a freelance French Horn player), Simon progressed quickly and achieved Grade 8 on the clarinet at the tender age of 12 and viola at only 13. He started to play sax at the age of 14 and got his first paid gig in the same year. At the Colchester Institute, whilst studying for a classical music degree, he turned to jazz and improvised music and went on to the Guildhall School of Music where he gained a Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Jazz and Studio Music and a L.G.S.M. Performance Diploma.
Simon Bates is an official endorsee of Yamaha Custom Saxophones, BG Ligatures and Vandoren Reeds.