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Gareth Lockrane: Fistfight At The Barndance

Roger Farbey By

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Gareth Lockrane started playing the flute at the age of ten and having played in various bands, he went on to study with Eddie Parker, Mark Lockheart and Hugh Fraser at the London's Royal Academy of Music from 1994 to 1998. Lockrane was a member of the UK's renowned National Youth Jazz Orchestra from 1995 to 2001 contributing compositions and arrangements to this legendary big band. He worked with the likes of the James Taylor Quartet, Anita Wardell, Gwilym Simcock, Callum Au and Phil Robson and co-led Grooveyard with tenor saxophonist Alex Garnett, releasing two albums to date, Put The Cat Out and The Strut. He's also led his own groups in quintet, sextet and septet formats. His big band made its debut in the 2008 London Jazz Festival. Lockrane is now heavily involved in jazz education at his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music, both as course director of the junior jazz course and teaching at degree level. He also teaches at Guildhall School of Music&Drama and Trinity College of Music.

The opening title track, with exhilarating echoes of Charles Mingus at his most exuberant, is replete with a fiery Hammond B3 solo from Ross Stanley, a robust trombone solo from Barnaby Dickinson and Lockrane soloing at lustily on flute. The funky "Do It" evinces similar buoyancy to the music of the late-lamented Loose Tubes and here trombonist Trevor Mires and guitarist Mike Outram turn in excellent solos. Things calm down for the lyrical "We'll Never Meet Again," benefitting from a sumptuous arrangement. Lockrane leads the solos with "On The Fly," rapidly pursued by Steve Fishwick's florid trumpet solo.

"Stutterfunk," surely a respectful nod to George Russell's "Stratusphunk," produces exactly what it says on the tin, with drummer Ian Thomas providing some intense grooves backed by Ross Stanley on incendiary Hammond organ. By contrast the mood slows right down for the elegant ballad "Forever Now" but is just as quickly regained for the quirkily titled "Aby7innia."

Mike Outram delivers a bluesy guitar solo on the infectious "Roots" followed by Mark Nightingale's vibrant trombone solo. "Mel's Spell" now sees Stanley soloing on piano and Lockrane again leads on the effervescent "One For Junia" with Sam Mayne following breezily on alto. Closing the proceedings is the strong "5B3 Boogie" with some appealing Quincy Jones-esque undercurrents.

A flautist with an expressively pellucid style, Lockrane follows in the august footsteps of Herbie Mann, Harold McNair, Tubby Hayes and venerable contemporaries such as Hubert Laws, Bob Downes, and naturally, Eddie Parker. His alluring compositions, imbued with visceral energy and attractive arrangements are consistently inventive and engaging, making it even more surprising that this is his debut big band album.

Track Listing: Fistfight At The Barndance; Do It; We'll Never Meet Again; On The Fly; Stutterfunk; Forever Now; Aby7innia; Roots; Mel's Spell; One for Junia; 5B3 Boogie.

Personnel: Gareth Lockrane: flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo; Steve Fishwick, Henry Collins, Andy Greenwood, Tom Walsh: trumpets; Sam Mayne, James Gardiner- Bateman: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Graeme Blevins, Nadim Teimoori: tenor saxophone, flute; Richard Shepherd: baritone saxophone, bass clarient; Mark Nightingale, Barnaby Dickinson, Trevor Mires: trombone; Barry Clements: bass trombone; Mike Outram: guitar; Ross Stanley: Hammond B3 organ, piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3 organ; Ryan Trebilcock: double bass, electric bass; Ian Thomas: drums; Hugh Wilkinson: percussion; Jonny Mansfield (2): marimba.

Title: Fistfight At The Barndance | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd

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