Tuesday 8 January 2013

Matt Gough Dectet & The Jazz Madhatter

Matt Gough - Trumpet
 Feeling like a old-skool art lecturer I was back at The Bull's Head this weekend (06/01/2013) to see how Matt Gough's Dectet had progressed in the last 12 months. This time last year as I busily prepared for my exhibition at The Bull I caught this crop of young musicians. Eventually featuring 4 paintings of the MGD in the subsequent show.

They are led by the trumpeter Matt Gough who's adventurous layered compositions are challenging for the listener in this Dectet format and bubble away with personal emotional content. He is undoubtably a thinker and facilitator, sheltering his group within his carefully woven music but giving them space to express.
Since graduating from Birmingham's Conservatoire he's now well into his second year full-time on the circuit and has outgrown his fledgling status,
Georgina Stalbow

" I like the balance of my life, apart from performing and composing it is the teaching which excites me most. I've had to formulate my ideas so that I can explain them to the students, it means I don't take my playing for granted. Recently I refreshed myself by taking a 3 months break, I just wasnt happy with what I was doing. I worked at the Two Brydges club and met some great creative people there........ I miss Birmingham...... I miss the routine and especially the people. It was amazing to get up everyday and just interact and play with some brilliant musicians". MG

It's no surprise then that he's engineered such a close knit group of musicians for us to hear. Amongst them was the saxophonist Chris Young who has developed a more powerful presence on stage. He captures the audience with a rye twinkle and a mouth that perpetually curls into a smile even while playing. He reminds you of a fair-haired mix of The Joker and Mad-Hatter, constantly on the balls of feet with a crackle of energy. An image that is reinforced with his permanent attachment to his baseball cap and a chuckling playing style that bounces his shoulders like he can't contain an excellent joke.
Chris Young - Sax

 He explained to me what the future held for him -
"I'm writing for my quartet and sextet, and heading towards a freer style. I'm heavily influenced by musicians I really admire like (vibraphonist) Mike Pinto. I think I'll stay in Birmingham another year. The scene..its so compact and alive. It will hard to leave"

Young was on top form as the Dectet eased comfortably into their first tune 'Consequences of the Result' from Gough's first album 'Resilience', followed by the excellently crafted 'Soundtrack to the work of an animal criminal mastermind'. My favourite of the first set was 'The forgotten fairground' which had a hint of John Lewis' 'The Carousel Incident' from Odds Against Tomorrow.
Toward the end of the second set my brain had reached overload with some of the complexities and I knew I could digest  no more. It is always a hazard when you're already doing two things at the same time (sketching and listening).

Richard Foote - Trombone
 One of my favourite musicians to draw is Richard Foote and he didn't dissapoint. He often reminds me of a Jazz triceratops, with his thick wispy black hair curling round like horns and his trombone charging right out towards you.
The Dectet worked well together under Gough's leadership and again impressed with Chris Gough's arrangment of  'I haven't got a brain' from the Wizard of Oz.
The big difference in a year for this excellent Dectet is a new lightness, and a greater sense of fun. Perhaps this has developed because they are more accomplished and confident performers or maybe because as a group they operate truly as a unit. The bus journey seemed a lonely Sunday night ride home after being in such a rich environment of togetherness.


Ben Kane - Drums

Tobie Carpenter - guitar

Percy Pursglove - Bass

John Fleming - Saxophone

Kieran Mcleod - Trombone

Chris Gough - French Horn/piano

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