Born as Alan Richard James Skidmore in London (UK) on 21 April 1942. Alan began his professional career at 16 and early in his career toured with comedian Tony Hancock. In the mid to late 1960’s he worked with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Ronnie Scott’s band. In the 1970’s, he was part of Keith Tippett’s jazz fusion big band Centipede and worked with Soft Machine, The Nice, Graham Collier, Brotherhood of Breath, Mike Gibbs, Elton Dean and Curved Air.
His first solo album was 1969’s ‘Once Upon a Time’. At the end of the Apartheid regime he went to South Africa to record with musicians from the percussion group Amampondo, including pianist Simpiwe Matole, playing modern jazz over a texture of African percussion and chants.