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MATTHEW HALSALL

Matthew Halsall (born September 11, 1983, in Manchester, England) is a Worldwide Award winning and MOBO nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and DJ. Since 2008, Matthew has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and has been a key figure in the rise of a new jazz sound in the UK. In addition to his own releases Halsall has collaborated with many DJs and producers, most notably DJ Shadow and Mr. Scruff, and in 2013 Matthew's music was selected by Bonobo for his Late Night Tales compilation. Halsall is also the founder of Gondwana Records, a genre bending independent record label featuring a wealth defining albums by the likes of Portico Quartet, GoGo Penguin, Hania Rani and Mammal Hands. His own rich music draws on the spiritual-jazz of Alice Coltrane and Phaorah Sanders, contemporary electronica and dance music alongside his travels in Japan, the traditional art and music of which, has left a lasting impression on his compositions.


Sending My Love (2008) and Colour Yes (2009) were his first releases and document Halsall's first great bands featuring the likes of flautist Chip Wickham, saxophonist Nat Birchall, harpist Rachael Gladwin, bassist Gavin Barras and drummer Gaz Hughes. Joyful, life-enhancing albums, drawing on UK jazz and spiritual jazz influences but with a decidedly modern bounce, they introduced Halsall's music to the world gathering support from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Jamie Cullum, Mojo, Straight No Chaser and beyond. But Halsall was never completely happy with how the records were presented and as part of Gondwana Records 10th anniversary decided to revisit the recordings, meticulously remixing and remastering them for vinyl and commissioning new artwork from Ian Anderson, one of his favourite designers. These then are the definitive editions of the records. Sending My Love comes complete with the beautiful bonus track This Time, while Colour Yes features the equally striking It's What We Do and Ai.


"I am very proud of these early recordings. They represent the starting point of my musical journey in Manchester and showcase some of the cities finest musicians such as: Nat Birchall, Chip Wickham, Rachael Gladwin, Adam Fairhall, Gavin Barras and Gaz Hughes. They are also the very first recordings my brother and I decided to release on our record label (Gondwana Records). Listening back they sound full of energy and joy and really reflect how I was feeling at that precise moment. But as much as I loved the music, I was never 100 percent happy with the sound of the mixes and mastering. So I decided to go back to the original tapes to remix and remaster them and present them the way I'd always wanted, and along the way we unearthed a couple extra unreleased tracks, which we decided to include as bonus material. Myself and my brother also decided to bring in Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic to re-imagine the artwork and we are super blown away by the results!" Matthew Halsall, Oct 2019

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: A further look into Matthew Halsall’s previous releases, Colour Yes from 2009 (Ten years ago!!!) is a mixture of soft piano keys and swaying brass. More uncovered gems please Gondwana Records, this is truly beautiful.

Matthew Halsall (born September 11, 1983, in Manchester, England) is a Worldwide Award winning and MOBO nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and DJ. Since 2008, Matthew has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and has been a key figure in the rise of a new jazz sound in the UK. In addition to his own releases Halsall has collaborated with many DJs and producers, most notably DJ Shadow and Mr. Scruff, and in 2013 Matthew's music was selected by Bonobo for his Late Night Tales compilation. Halsall is also the founder of Gondwana Records, a genre bending independent record label featuring a wealth defining albums by the likes of Portico Quartet, GoGo Penguin, Hania Rani and Mammal Hands. His own rich music draws on the spiritual-jazz of Alice Coltrane and Phaorah Sanders, contemporary electronica and dance music alongside his travels in Japan, the traditional art and music of which, has left a lasting impression on his compositions.


Sending My Love (2008) and Colour Yes (2009) were his first releases and document Halsall's first great bands featuring the likes of flautist Chip Wickham, saxophonist Nat Birchall, harpist Rachael Gladwin, bassist Gavin Barras and drummer Gaz Hughes. Joyful, life-enhancing albums, drawing on UK jazz and spiritual jazz influences but with a decidedly modern bounce, they introduced Halsall's music to the world gathering support from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Jamie Cullum, Mojo, Straight No Chaser and beyond. But Halsall was never completely happy with how the records were presented and as part of Gondwana Records 10th anniversary decided to revisit the recordings, meticulously remixing and remastering them for vinyl and commissioning new artwork from Ian Anderson, one of his favourite designers. These then are the definitive editions of the records. Sending My Love comes complete with the beautiful bonus track This Time, while Colour Yes features the equally striking It's What We Do and Ai.


"I am very proud of these early recordings. They represent the starting point of my musical journey in Manchester and showcase some of the cities finest musicians such as: Nat Birchall, Chip Wickham, Rachael Gladwin, Adam Fairhall, Gavin Barras and Gaz Hughes. They are also the very first recordings my brother and I decided to release on our record label (Gondwana Records). Listening back they sound full of energy and joy and really reflect how I was feeling at that precise moment. But as much as I loved the music, I was never 100 percent happy with the sound of the mixes and mastering. So I decided to go back to the original tapes to remix and remaster them and present them the way I'd always wanted, and along the way we unearthed a couple extra unreleased tracks, which we decided to include as bonus material. Myself and my brother also decided to bring in Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic to re-imagine the artwork and we are super blown away by the results!" Matthew Halsall, Oct 2019



STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: The first of Mathew Halsall’s original releases ‘Sending My Love’ is a journey back in time to Halsall’s first beginnings with flourishing jazz notes. With the bonus track ‘This Time’ it’s a remastered treasure!

The recordings on Oneness date from Jan, March and September 2008 and were born from a period of experimentation as Halsall first began to explore the music that would provide the inspiration for his spiritual jazz recordings Fletcher Moss Park and When the World Was One. They also offer an intriguing snapshot into the birth of Halsall's Gondwana Orchestra and feature many musicians who would go on to become a key part of Halsall's musical journey, such as harpist Rachel Gladwin, bassist Gavin Barras and saxophonist Nat Birchall. The recordings sat in the Gondwana Records vaults for over a decade before Halsall felt it was the right time to share them. Asked about the recordings Halsall says:

"I've always treasured these recordings and loved how vulnerable, open and free they are, but I just felt they were too subtle and sensitive to release early on in my career, so I held them back until now. I also feel now is the right time to release these before I begin a fresh journey with a new bunch of musicians."

Remarkably, the beautiful compositions heard here were all built around a simple tanpura drone sound. An instrument Halsall heard on Alice Coltrane's 'Journey In Satchidananda' album and then at a later date in a concert featuring Arun Ghosh on clarinet and John Ellis on piano. "I loved the way this instrument created a sort of meditative atmospheric pulse for the musicians to work over and it had this beautiful feeling of togetherness, so after the gig I went out and bought a Raagini Shruti box featuring the tanpura drone and began to practice my trumpet over it and wrote lots of loose themes and melodies".

The sessions that make up Oneness capture Halsall in the process of building a new band, reaching out to various musicians he'd discovered and admired on the Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds music scene. "I really liked this idea of bringing lots of musicians together from different backgrounds and was fascinated with how they would all react to each other and the tanpura drone box seemed to bring everyone together really well, it was kind of like a nice meditative icebreaker exercise for everyone to loosen up, before we got stuck into the more composed tunes I'd created, some of which ended up on the Sending My Love and Colour Yes albums".

The album's title, Oneness, speaks to both Halsall's conviction that the planet should be shared equally with all of its inhabitants. That no human being or other inhabitant deserves to exist more than the other and that we can achieve far more together than against each other. And also importantly to what Halsall was aiming for musically:

"I really believe in Oneness and I've always loved the term 'greater than the sum of its parts'. I could make music on my own and live a fairly isolated antisocial life, but there's something far more rewarding about creating things with others. And for me these sessions document the coming together of lots of different musicians in a wonderfully organic soulful way to make egoless music".

It's a belief that continues to underpin Matthew's music making and a message that the word sorely needs right now as we feel more divided and separated than ever. This then is Oneness, a decade in the making and well worth the wait. Enjoy!

AIRPLAY from Mart Ann Hobbs, Gilles Peterson, Unclassified radio 3, Late Junction etc

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Matthew Halsall’s recordings from 2008 have made it to the surface in this stunningly delicate record, Oneness. From the beginning of his journey, this precious jazz which has been stored for over a decade is a beautiful and pure edition to Halsall’s releases.

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra

Journey In Satchidananda / Blue Nile


Originally isused back in 2015 and now selling for silly money on Discogs and Ebay, Gondwana Records is delighted to announce the re-release of Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra's tribute to Allce Coltrane / Journey in Satchidananda and Blue Nile.

Featuring Matthew Halsall trumpet, Lisa Mallett flute, Rachael Gladwin harp, Taz Modi piano, Gavin Barras bass, Gaz Hughes drums and Nat Birchall percussion and recorded at the legendary Maida Vale Studios. Vinyl and download.

Packed in a distinctive bright orange Gondwana Records sleeve this is the first in a collectors series of spiritual jazz limited-edition EPs set for release in 2018 as part of Gondwana Records' 10th anniversary.

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra

When The World Was One

Over the course of four albums, Manchester based trumpeter, composer, arranger and band-leader Matthew Halsall has carved out a niche for himself on the UK music scene as one of its brightest talents. His languid, soulful music has won friends from Jamie Cullum and Gilles Peterson to Jazz FM and Mojo as well as an ever-growing international following. His label Gondwana Records is home to GoGo Penguin and his own albums have found Halsall exploring the modal jazz of John and Alice Coltrane, paying tribute to the hard bop of the late '50s and early '60s or most recently on 'Fletcher Moss Park' drawing on Eastern influences in his most personal statement yet. His latest album 'When The World Was One' is something of a companion piece to 'Fletcher Moss Park' (much of the music was written at the same time) but draws more explicitly on Halsall's love of spiritual jazz and Eastern music as well as his own studies in meditation and travels in Japan. Beautifully recorded at Hasall's favourite studio, 80 Hertz in Manchester, and engineered by Brendan Williams and George Atkins it features the recording debut of Halsall's large ensemble, The Gondwana Orchestra, which utilises the exotic flavours of harp, koto and bansuri flute and Eastern scales to create a global palate for Halsall's life-affirming sounds.

The Gondwana Orchestra features long time collaborators Nat Birchall, saxophone, Gavin Barras, bass and Rachael Gladwin, harp as well as Taz Modi on piano. Modi who also plays with Halsall in their more electronic trio shares his passion for spiritual jazz and plays the music with real feeling while the role of the harp here is to bring a touch of 'magical reality' a floating dreaminess that is a vital part of Halsall's elegiac and beautiful music. The drummer Luke Flowers is perhaps best known as part of Cinematic Orchestra, and Halsall describes him as 'one of the best drummers in the world' and hails him for 'playing the music exactly as I heard it in my head', Keiko Kitamura is a Japanese Koto player who is becoming an increasingly important part of the Gondwana Orchestra, her role is similar to Gladwin's in that the koto helps free up the music while also bringing a real sound of the East. Finally, flautist Lisa Mallett brings a love of Indian music to the orchestra, much travelled on the continent she brings all of her knowledge and experience to play offering a unique texture to Halsall's dreamy melodies.

Manchester based, DJ, bandleader and trumpeter Matthew Halsall is one of the UK's brightest jazz talents. A gifted trumpeter with a beautiful, expressive tone, his music draws on his love of the transcendental, spiritual and modal jazz of Alice and John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, as well as the glories of 60s British jazz.

His third album "On The Go" is a heartfelt love letter to the jazz of the late 50s and early 60s. Inspired by the evocative sounds of Miles Davis' soundtrack to the Louis Malle film "Lift To The Scaffold" and the legendary early 60s recordings of Art Blakey and Max Roach the album is nostalgic but always soulful. However, while Halsall's elegiac music is imbued with a sense of history, the young trumpeter and DJ nevertheless brings a contemporary bounce to his music ensuring that his music breathes with a personality all its own.

The album opens with "Music For A Dancing Mind", the most obvious nod to the work of Blakey and Roach. The beautiful "Song For Charlie" is named for Halsall's grandfather, a key inspiration in his life. Dukkha is a Buddhist term roughly translating to suffering so the title "The End Of Dukkha" is self-explanatory and "Samatha", another Buddhist term, means calm, a perfect title for this elegant tune. "The Journey Home" came to Halsall on the train back to Manchester from London and captures that happy feeling of return.



Manchester based trumpeter, composer, arranger and band-leader Matthew Halsall is one of the rising stars of the UK jazz scene. His unique sound was brilliantly described as "Rain-streaked spiritual jazz from Manchester" by the Independent On Sunday and previous albums have found Halsall exploring the modal jazz of John and Alice Coltrane or paying heartfelt tribute to the hard bop of the late 50s and early 60s, but on 'Fletcher Moss Park' he offers his most personal statement yet.

Written and recorded over the last couple of years, 'Fletcher Moss Park' is inspired by one of Manchester's most beautiful places. A rambling, multi-tiered park of walkways and dreamy gardens that offers the contemplative Halsall a place of peace and respite from the city, a meditative space to think and write in. The stillness and beauty of the surroundings have steeped into his beautiful compositions for this album. Elegant and sincere, Halsall's compositions draw on his love of spiritual jazz, modern dance music and even his work with the award-winning Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band earlier this year. Halsall who has recently been exploring his music in a stripped-back, electronica influenced, trio (featuring Taz Modi and Luke Flowers who also appear here) as well as the 12 piece Gondwana Orchestra has always favoured an earthy honestly and direct communication over tricksy arrangements and it is this deceptively simple openness that gives his music such a unique flavour as the young composer and producer seeks to express his feelings and thoughts with his music.

'Fletcher Moss Park' opens with three tracks featuring saxophonist Nat Birchall, harpist Rachael Gladwin and pianist Adam Fairhall alongside bassist Gavin Barras and drummer Gaz Hughes all long running members of Halsall's sextet. The beautiful 'Cherry Blossom' opens with a nod to Alice Coltrane before exploring it's own contemplative trajectory, the title track features a gorgeous opening from harpist Gladwin and one of Halsall's trademark slow but foot tappingly catchy grooves, Mary Emma Louise is an elegant tribute to someone special and features some beautifully wistful playing from the composer. 'Sailing Out To Sea' and 'Wee Lan' offer a change in mood, two short interludes for violin (Holly Simpson and Davinder Singh), cello (Adrianne Wininsky) and double bass (Barras), Halsall chose not to play here feeling that the brief musical sketches caught his intentions perfectly. Finally the album closes with the two most recent compositions, the reposeful 'Sun In September' which features fine work from flautist Lisa Mallett, alongside pianist Taz Modi and drummer Luke Flowers and the uplifting 'Finding My Way', which with its compelling groove and fine drumming from Flowers (best known for his work with Cinematic Orchestra) offers a nod towards Halsall's love of contemporary electronic music as well as a hint of future projects. But as with the writing here you can be sure that wherever Halsall's muse takes him his music will remain heartfelt and life affirming in its elegant directness as he explores his own unique musical terrain that stretches from the bucolic stillness of 'Fletcher Moss Park' to a world far beyond!

STAFF COMMENTS

Ryan says: A favourite of mine from our own local Jazz mastermind. Fletcher Moss Park explores a 50's, 60's sound channeling the likes of Coltrane. As you can imagine this album flows beautifully from beginning to end, almost as good as a stroll through the park itself.


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