British Spiritual Jazz Master Matthew Halsall Releases "Into Forever", Featuring Vocalist Josephine Oniyama
Over the course of five 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 it’s 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 new album Into Forever, puts the spotlight on Halsall the composer, arranger and producer. Halsall draws on a diverse range of influences from Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby, Phil Cohran and Leon Thomas to the more contemporary sounds of The Cinematic Orchestra, Max Richter and Nils Frahm to deliver his most complete recording to date. Indeed, although the self effacing Halsall only plays trumpet on two tracks here, it is nonetheless every note, a Matthew Halsall album.
“I love being a musician, love playing, but for me every note has to serve the music I hear in my head and as I composed the music that became this album, I found that the voices that best expressed my intentions, were those of my friends and colleagues in The Gondwana Orchestra, as well as the two wonderful singers I have been lucky to work with on this album. I consider this my most personal record to date as though there are less solos within the compositions, this allows you to hear a lot more of my voice through all the instruments. It’s also the first time I’ve collaborated with vocalists, which is something I’ve always wanted to do”.
Indeed, while Halsall’s last album When The World Was One was very much about The Gondwana Orchestra exploring the legacy of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, this album follows on from Matthew’s 2013 meditative masterpiece Fletcher Moss Park which found Halsall developing a unique fusion of spiritual jazz and Eastern influences to deliver a deeply personal statement. But while the sound world here is similar to Fletcher Moss Park, with Halsall again utilising strings to powerful effect, the catalyst for Into Forever came when Halsall met Manchester based soul poet Josephine Oniyama when they collaborated on a new composition for the Manchester based, BBC Radio 3 show, The Verb. For Halsall something just clicked. “I had wanted to work with singers for a while, but nothing quite felt right, but with Josephine and then Bryony I am delighted to have found two astoundingly talented young Manchester artists whose vocals, lyrics and melodic ideas really fit with how I hear music”.
But Into Forever isn’t just about the vocalists, it features many of Halsall’s most trusted collaborators, with key contributions from flautist Lisa Mallett, harpist Rachael Gladwin, koto player Keiko Kitamura, pianist Taz Modi piano, bassist Gavin Barras, drummer Luke Flowers and two percussionists Sam Bell percussion andChris Cruiks as well as again featuring Halsall’s distinctive writing for strings. The result is arguably Halsall’s finest record, a sublime melding of stripped back soulful funk and deep, minimalist, spiritual jazz, that will take you on a journey deep into forever!
Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra
Featuring Josephine Oniyama, Bryony Jarman-Pinto and string quartet
Gondwana Records CD/LP/DL released 2nd October 2015
Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra Tour
1st Oct Capstone Theatre, Liverpool
2nd Oct Ropery Hall, Barton Upon Humber
15th Oct St George’s Bristol
17th Oct The Grand, Clitheroe
22nd Oct The Old Fire Station, Carlisle
23rd Oct St Peter’s Church, Manchester
28th Oct St Mary’s in the Castle, Hastings
29th Oct Union Chapel, London*