Saxophonist and composer Rob Yockney was classically trained on viola and spent his early years playing in orchestras. But a childhood memory of a saxophone in a junk shop in Bath was eventually to take hold, and Rob subsequently developed a passion for jazz, and played in a variety of contexts including rock, blues, funk and big band. He is currently a member of The Big Noise Street Band based in Taunton (described as ‘big, bold and brassy’), and attends the Bristol Jazz Workshop.
In 2013, Rob embarked on the project Impressions of … composing music for saxophone, drawing on his eclectic musical background, and evoking memories of the places he’s visited on his many travels. This project continued for 6 years producing compositions such as Blue Mansion, The Road to Inuvik, Ushuaia and The Church at Tikitiki.
During 2019 Rob began a collaboration with poets Chris Waters and Chris Fogg on a spoken word and music show, Que Pasa? – what’s up, what’s going on out there? The show combines Rob’s compositions with their poems to take the audience on a journey of wordscapes and sound-sketches. In late 2019 and early 2020, the show was performed at a number of venues in Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
Throughout long periods during 2020 and 2021, live performance was restricted and Rob took this opportunity to focus on composition, In 2020, he created a series of pieces relating to his feelings of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact, and a suite of music around his experiences kayaking. The pandemic related pieces explored the use of larger ensembles with 3 or 4 saxophone parts, and this development was further explored in 2022 in the piece Ammonite Beach which employs a nine piece ensemble including marimba, cello, viola and violin.