Artist Profile 01 – Michael Garrick

“It is not pretentious to describe him as the British Duke Ellington” – Steve Voce

New to Cosmic Jazz is a series of short artist profiles which will give some essential biographical detail along with key recordings to listen to. We start off with pianist Michael Garrick,who has been part of the British jazz scene since the arrival of his first recordings in 1959. Garrick is not just a pianist though: he’s a major composer and jazz educator, having held posts at the three major London music colleges in addition to holding his own jazz summer schools.

He’s recently published an autobiographical account of British jazz in the 1960s – Dusk Fire – Jazz in English Hands -and, rather belatedly, Garrick recieved the MBE in the 2010  New Year’s Honours list.

His work as pianist with the Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet between 1965-69 features some of his best playing but you also need to check out Garrick’s own large scale compositions. It is these which capture his essential English take on jazz. It’s the very fact that Garrick followed his English inspirations of church and folk musics rather than the American jazz tradition that has led to the creation of his most innovative work.

For a longer account of Garrick’s life and influences check out Dennis Harrison’s excellent article on the Jazzscript website.

Selected recordings:
Don Rendall/Ian Carr Quintet – Dusk Fire (1965)
Michael Garrick – Black Marigolds (1966)
Michael Garrick – Jazz Praises at St Paul’s (1968)
Michael Garrick – Troppo (1973)
Michael Garrick – Green and Pleasant Land (2002)
Michael Garrick – Big Band Harriot (2004)

To hear Michael Garrick live in East Anglia, just head straight for Milestones Jazz Club in Lowestoft where he will be playing with Nette Robinson on 05 September.

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