Art was born in Manchester, where he was involved with the traditional jazz scene in the late 1950s as a self-taught musician. In 1958 he began his medical studies at Cambridge University,going on in 1961 to complete his studies in London, and qualifying in 1964. He specialised in orthopaedic medicine, eventually becoming a consultant.
Art started playing jazz with the Cambridge University Jazz Group – with bandmates Dick Heckstall-Smith and Dave Gelly – and then in London playing with blues musicians Jack Bruce and Alexis Korner. He went on to play with such English luminaries as Michael Garrick, Ian Carr and Graham Collier. He fronted the Stan Tracey quartet for 20 years from 1976. Key influences are Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon. He is a busy and sought after musician who nowadays is most often seen on stage with many of the best of Britain’s top jazz players such as Alan Barnes, John Donaldson, John Critchinson, Dave Newton, Georgie Fame, Don Weller, Mornington Lockett, among many others. Art is a player who is known for his originality and individual style.
A consummate performer and one of the UK’s top jazz saxophonists, he plays in large and small venues throughout the UK and worldwide and is a regular feature on many top jazz festivals. Current projects include his New Direction Quintet and Trio playing Sony Rollins.