Gareth Lockrane is one of the UK’s most celebrated musicians and started playing flute at the age of 10 and after raiding his father’s record collection discovered jazz at 14. His early influences included Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans and Stan Getz on the jazz side whilst also being transfixed by the great blues-rock guitarists of the 60s and 70s as a child – Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Albert Collins, Freddie King, Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy, who continue to be major influences. On flute the initial main inspirations were saxophone “doublers” like Frank Wess, James Clay, Roland Kirk, Bobby Jaspar and James Moody and later on he fell under the spell of flute visionaries like Jeremy Steig, Eric Dolphy, Hubert Laws, Paul Horn, Eddie Parker and James Newton amongst many others.
In 1994 he enrolled on the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London where teachers included Stan Sulzmann, Hugh Fraser, Mark Lockheart and Eddie Parker and where he struck up musical relationships with fellow students the Fishwick brothers, Osian Roberts, Orlando le Fleming and many others. In 1997, his band “The Jazz System” formed with Osian Roberts was a finalist in the Vienna Jazz Festival Grande Concours de Jazz. In 1998, he studied on the Lake Placid Jazz Course in New York with Joe Lovano, Dick Oatts and Jim McNeely and in 2000 was a finalist in the Young Jazz Musician of the Year competition.
In 2002, he formed the band Grooveyard with saxophonist Alex Garnett which released a critically acclaimed CD “PUT THE CAT OUT” which went on to win the Best European Jazz Group award in the 2003 Granada Jazz Festival. Grooveyard completed a successful Jazz Services tour of the UK in 2005. Their new 2012 album “THE STRUT” is the ‘sequel’ to PUT THE CAT OUT and is being released on Whirlwind Recordings. From 2006, in search of some fresh musical challenges he enrolled on the prestigious MA course in film composition at the National Film & Television School, graduating in 2008. He also founded his own septet which released the album “NO MESSIN” in 2009 and went on to win best album in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards that year. This band features Robbie Robson (trumpet), Steve Kaldestad (sax), Trevor Mires (trombone/euphonium), Robin Aspland – (piano) Matt Miles (bass) and Matt Home (drums).
He has formed his own big band, a fruition of all Gareth’s musical interests – combining his cinematic influences of greats such as Jerry Fielding, Lalo Schifrin and Bernard Herrmann with the soul jazz and unrestrained improvisatory nature of Grooveyard and the intricate through-composed nature of his septet writing, the big band is the ultimate vehicle for Gareth’s composing and arranging. Making their debut in the 2008 London Jazz Festival and influenced by, amongst others, Gil Evans, Maria Schneider, Kenny Wheeler, Jim McNeely, Thad Jones, Basie, Mingus and many more, the band blends heavy grooves and luscious orchestrations to spectacular effect.
As a sideman, Gareth has been involved in many diverse projects – as a key member of the late great Bheki Mseleku’s group during his last years from 2005 to 2008 and also with Phil Robson’s IMS Quintet featuring Mark Turner, Laurence Cottle’s Big band, Michael Kiwanuka, Xantone Blacq, Kate Williams, Patrick Cornelius, Simon Woolf Quartet and Sextet, Incognito, Georgia Mancio, Nia Lynn’s Bannau Trio, The JTQ, Hans Koller, Sirius B, Anita Wardell, Natalie Williams, Paul Booth, Gwilym Simcock Nonet and Big Band, Tom Richards Jazz Orchestra, The National Youth Jazz Orchestra and many more. Gareth is also heavily involved in the music educational world, as course director of the junior jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well as regularly teaching at degree level at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music&Drama and Trinity College of Music. He also teaches regularly on the residential Loire Summer School in France, and on the Jazz Academy courses at the Yehudi Menuhin School. Lockrane is one of the very few non-American musicians who has maintained a presence in the prestigious ‘Downbeat Magazine’s Critics Poll’ for Rising Star Flautist.