– THE PEACEFUL PROTEST –
Matthew Halsall is a brilliant talent-spotter. We know this to be true; the sheer breadth and brilliance of the artists on his Gondwana record label is a testament to that.
And yet, it is his own music – often far more demure than that of the musicians he signs – that most rewards repeated listens and reveals itself slowly, seductively over time.
Now, more than 10 years into his recording career, the Manchester-dwelling trumpeter / composer / producer releases an album – ‘Oneness’ – which was actually recorded in 2008, before his debut LP, ‘Sending my Love’ hit the public consciousness.
What is remarkable about it is that it reveals a musician already supremely comfortable in his sound, refusing to be rushed or compromise on the super-chilled world/jazz template he’s since made absolutely his own.
As with every track on the album, ‘Distant Land’ was built around a simple tanpura drone sound which Halsall had first heard on Alice Coltrane’s ‘Journey In Satchidananda’ album.
He and saxophonist Nat Birchall take centre stage of course, but the harp of Rachel Gladwin and bass of Gavin Barras are as prominent and as punchy as ever.
He says of the album, “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.”
As I say, Halsall’s music has always benefitted from being given time; and now these excellent hidden treasures will give us hardened fans many more years of joy.
‘Oneness’ is out now through Gondwana records.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE: GO CRAZY
HEMLOCK ERNST & KENNY SEGAL: DOWN
MANU DELGADO: ZEITGEBER
ELSA HEWITT: TINY DANCER
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –