Matthew Halsall is a Manchester-based DJ, composer, arranger and jazz trumpet player whose music is increasingly looking eastwards and leaning towards the spiritual. Drawing inspiration from the modal jazz of the late 1950s/early 1960s (Miles Davis of course, John Coltrane and many Blue Note artists from that era), the world/jazz fusion of multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef and the spiritual jazz movement which emerged at the end of the 1960s (John & Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders), Matthew Halsall’s (entirely acoustic) music is also informed by the sound of the UK electronic music scene (Warp and Ninja Tune record labels), in particular that of The Cinematic Orchestra’s nu jazz.
Released on Matthew Halsall’s own Gondwana record label and with his trumpet in reflective mood throughout, Fletcher Moss Park (2012) is the musician’s fourth album. While the first three tracks include the same personnel as on his previous 2011 release On the Go (regulars Rachael Gladwin on harp, Adam Fairhall on piano, Gavin Barras on double bass, Gaz Hughes on drums or Nat Birchall on saxophone), two short oriental flavoured pieces featuring a string quartet – “Sailing out to sea” and “Wee Lan” (Little Orchid) – seem to open the door to something different. The following track – the elegant “The sun in September” – has a distinct eastern feel too and sees the introduction of Lisa Mallett on the Bansuri flute, Taz Modi on piano and Luke Flowers (of The Cinematic Orchestra) on drums.
The gorgeous walking pace of the tune also serves as a musical caption for the album cover and plays like a late afternoon stroll in Fletcher Moss Park – a bucolic haven outside Manchester.
I wrote a lot of the music in a beautiful park not far from my house on my laptop and that’s where I got a lot of the inspiration. I often like to go outside and compose out in the open […] It definitely had an effect on the music. Matthew Halsall
Matthew Halsall’s latest release When the World Was One (June 2014) maintains a similar contemplative and eastern vein.