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Composer, trumpeter, producer, DJ and founder of Gondwana Records, Matthew Halsall has always worn many hats. But at the heart of everything that he does Halsall is first and foremost an artist and a musician. A trumpeter whose unflashy, soulful playing radiates a thoughtful beauty and a composer and band-leader who has created his own rich sound world. A sound that draws on the heritage of British jazz, the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, as well as world music and electronica influences, and even modern art and architecture, to create something uniquely his own. A music that is rooted in Northern England but draws on global inspirations.
Salute to the Sun is his first album as a leader since Into Forever (2015) and marks the debut of his new band. A hand-picked ensemble featuring some of Manchester’s finest young musicians: Matt Cliffe flute & saxophone, Maddie Herbert harp, Liviu Gheorghe piano, Alan Taylor drums and Jack McCarthy percussion as well as long-time Halsall collaborator, bassist, Gavin Barras who has been at the heart of Halsall’s bands for over a decade. For Matthew it was important to have a band based locally and able, pre-Covid, to meet and play each week, and who also performed a sold-out monthly basement session at Yes in Manchester. The album draws energy from these sessions and inspiration from themes and ideas that have inspired Halsall through the years (on albums such as Oneness, Fletcher Moss Park and When the World Was One) ideas of ecology, the environment and harmony with nature.
“I feel Salute to the Sun is a positive earthy album. I wanted to create something playful but also quite primitive, earthy and organic that connected to the sounds in nature. I was listening to lush ambient field recordings of tropical environments such as jungles and rainforests and found myself drawn to percussive atmospheric sounds which replicated what I was hearing (bells / shakers / chimes / rain sticks) and I started to experiment with more wooden percussive instruments such as kalimba and marimba”.
Patrick says: After a year in which most of us had plenty of opportunity to reconnect with nature, Manchester’s pre-eminent jazz musician returned with this lush tribute to the living world. ’Salute To The Sun’ is Halsall’s first album as a leader in five years, and finds him fronting a new band cherry picked from the next generation of Mancunian musicians as well as long time collaborator Gavin Barras.
Halsall’s spent much of the last decade reinterpreting spiritual jazz for the 21st century, and there’s been a consistent focus on ecological influences. On ’Salute To The Sun’ however, Halsall looks far beyond Fletcher Moss, instead exploring the humid sounds of the tropics across seven immersive compositions. Placing a greater emphasis on percussion than on previous works, Halsall lets his expressive tone soar over the woody rhythms beneath, the marimba and kalimba adding pitched nuance to the primal drum patterns. This album is as rich, warm and rewarding as the life giving orb which inspired it.
Harmony With Nature
Joyful Spirits Of The Universe
Canopy & Stars
Salute To The Sun
The Energy Of Life