The Gondwana Orchestra

Matthew Halsall, a Manchester composer, trumpeter and all-round enabler of northern new-music, is a man who has the flexibility and energy to manage a wide-based contemporary label. But he also follows the meditations of John and Alice Coltrane’s 1960s music, which he heavily steers his own ventures. While Halsall’s personal projects are often close to Coltrane’s most reflective works, his Gondwana Orchestra, which includes regular partners Rachel Gladwin and Nat Birchall on harp, is an expanded band that features Japan’s zither-like Koto and the haunting sounds of the bansuri flute. This creatively broadens Halsall’s palette towards a far eastern-inspired music world. The title track features a McCoy Tyneresque piano vamp and soprano sax theme, as well as the streaming harp counterpoint and streaming harp theme. It also includes the Far Away Place spreading-ripples intro and quivering flute, and the harp that embraces Birchall’s bell-clear soprano tones on Falling Water. Luke Flowers, Cinematic Orchestra drummer, and pianist Taz Modi, both of whom clearly capture Hals 1960s hard-bop sounds. From

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