Composer, trumpeter, producer, DJ and founder of Gondwana Records, Matthew Halsall has always worn many hats. But at the heart of everything that he does Halsall is first and foremost an artist and a musician. A trumpeter whose unflashy, soulful playing radiates a thoughtful beauty and a composer and band-leader who has created his own rich sound world. A sound that draws on the heritage of British jazz, the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, as well as world music and electronica influences, and even modern art and architecture, to create something uniquely his own. A music that is rooted in Northern England but draws on global inspirations.
When Matthew Halsall released Salute to the Sun in November 2020, his first new album in five years, he shared the first fruits from an especially fertile period of writing and recording, which also gave birth to the music released here as The Temple Within.
The recording sessions featured Halsall’s then brand new band of hand-picked local musicians, brought together through weekly rehearsals and a monthly residency at Yes in Manchester, they forged an immersive, communal sound, drawing on spiritual jazz, the heritage of British jazz and progressive world music and electronica influences. Inspired by these monthly sessions, together, they created a body of music that is rooted in Northern England but draws on global inspirations. For Halsall the music on The Temple Within perfectly captures the spirit of those sessions.
“I felt really excited by the connection that we were building, both together as a band, but also with the local community. People of all ages and types come to our monthly sessions and the energy of being able to write and rehearse and then perform new music each month is really uplifting. And this music is a perfect case in point. To me it really feels like a perfect pocket of music, a perfect moment. We thought about expanding it to an album, but in the end if just feels right as it is, and we wanted to share that energy of that moment with our wider community, not just people at our shows, but our fans and listeners around the world.”
The Temple Within – a four-track EP, is out now.