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Jackson Mathod

Jackson Mathod is a fine young trumpet and flugelhorn player who is emerging on to the UK music scene after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. (Note: pronounced Mathod, where the ‘a’ is flat as in ‘man’ or ‘cat’). When he plays, you can tell how much he cares about his music, but he also can also radiate an enthusiasm that readily engages his audience.

Born in London in 1991, Jackson moved with his family to Cambridgeshire where his parents still live. His mother is a glass artist, his father is a photographer and his sister has just begun a fine art course at Leeds Met. Although his family are not musicians, they do enjoy their music: ‘I remember my Dad playing a Miles Davis album to me once,’ Jackson recalls, ‘But that was before I was interested in jazz’.

He was eight when a teacher at Stretham school ran a session where the kids were asked to choose an instrument to try. ‘I happened to pick up a trumpet,’ Jackson recalls. ‘Somehow it just clicked’. Jackson was encouraged to work his way through his grades, and as time went on, his parents recognised his growing talent, commitment and potential.

Others recognised it too. David Notley is a Fellow and Licentiate of Trinity College of Music in London, a soprano cornet player Jackson Mathodand bandmaster of the Soham Comrades Band. When Jackson was eleven, David wrote a dissertation where he said: ‘My observations of Jackson are that he has taught himself to play the trumpet even though he has a teacher’ (click here).

Jackson agrees: ‘I guess that is right. I was mainly playing classical music then, but my interests were broadening. I was playing along with solos I heard, and by thirteen I had started to transcribe music that I liked, without even realising what I was doing’.

In secondary school, Jackson was mainly playing classical music. In his first year at the school, Jackson came runner-up in the school’s ‘Young Musician of the Year competition’. This was an early sign that Jackson had potential. ‘With my parents’ encouragement, I auditioned for the Junior Guildhall and Junior Academy of Music when I was fourteen,’ Jackson says. ‘I didn’t get in to the Academy but was accepted in the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I started to become involved in jazz workshops when I was there and again I was transcribing solos I heard – Chet Baker, Clifford Brown’s solo in Jordu ... I took up jazz piano while I was there, and I remember transcribing Paul Desmond’s Tangerine and Autumn Leaves. At the time, I had no real idea about the harmony that was involved in these solos, I was just inspired by how it sounded.’

(Click here to listen to Clifford Brown playing Jordu. Click here to listen to Chet Baker and Paul Desmond playing Tangerine).

In 2008, Jackson applied for full-time music courses. ‘I auditioned and was offered a place a Birmingham, and then my mother had this phone call offering me a place at Guildhall. I started in 2009 and graduated in 2013. It has been a great course; I think that, in particular, it inspired an openness that I feel is essential in the modern day professional musician.’

‘We started up a group with the unlikely name of ‘Friendly Bacteria’,’ Jackson says, ‘and entered a Yamaha jazz competition. We didn’t win, but one of the judges was jazz pianist, bandleader and composer Julian Jospeh. After the session, he came and said how he was impressed with my playing and said that he would contact me again. A year went by and I thought it was just one of those things that people say and that I wouldn’t actually hear from him again, but then he contacted me in 2011 and asked if I was free to play in his big band for three nights at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club.’ In his review of that three night run, journalist John Fordham wrote: ‘Teenage trumpeter Jackson Mathod and old hand Byron Wallen struck sparks in the brass section.’

The contact with Julian Joseph has continued and Jackson now teaches regularly with Byron Wallen and Tony Kofi at the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy. ‘Julian has been really supportive,’ says Jackson.

Julian Joseph has said: ‘Jackson Mathod plays with genuine love for Jazz music. His ability to convey truth in his solos is a tonic Jackson Mathodand his potential excites me. Jackson’s playing adheres to the values of blues, swing and community, he already represents himself with honesty and dignity and reflects with abundance the characteristics that this music’s future will thrive on’.

Playing at the Lay It Down Jam Night with Holly Petrie (vocals) and Richie Garrison (sax). (Picture by Patrick Pezzutto).

In 2012, Jackson led a trio for a residency at the Charterhouse bar in Farringdon with bassist Mark Lewandowski and drummer David Ingamells (who has recently been awarded a 2013 Yamaha Jazz Scholarship). Jackson was also continuing to play for Julian Joseph in Julian and Mike Phillips’s Shadow Ball – an opera for young people. The jazz opera tells the story of ’Negro League baseball players and their jazz compatriots struggling to achieve their dreams in a time of segregation and is inspired by the era of Ellington and Armstrong’. Click here for a video of Julian Joseph talking about Shadow Ball.

Shadow Ball was followed by a boxing-themed Cultural Olympiad commission, The Brown Bomber, staged at Sadler’s Wells where Julian Joseph’s dance was a re-enactment of Joe Louis’ historic 1938 clash with Max Schmeling. It was credited by Jazzwise magazine as a ‘triumphant conclusion to an evening of vivacious choreography and top-flight jazz.’ Performers included Patrick Clahar, Mark Mondesir, Julian Joseph and Mark Hodgson. Click here for a video of Julian Joseph taking about The Brown Bomber.

It is not surprising that in the 2011 winter edition of Jazzwise, Jackson was amongst those nominated as ‘someone to watch out for in 2012’. Jackson can be seen on video performing a trumpet solo at Guildhall in 2012 as part of a Vintage Jazz concert (click here). His final recital in 2013 was also significant in that it started with a version of Bourbon Street Parade and a stunning solo trumpet introduction to the number. After following this with numbers by Jackie McLean, Duke Ellington and Julian Joseph (who was there in the audience to support Jackson), the recital was rounded off with another ‘vintage’ number - Down By The Riverside.

‘The Guildhall course includes a project on Vintage Jazz during the third year,’ Jackson explains. ‘I think it is important that we, as musicians have an understanding of where jazz comes from and the music of some of the early jazz musicians – Louis Armstrong, of course, Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke …. We also forget nowadays that this music was the popular music of its time. This music was heard on the radio, in clubs and restaurants. Therefore I feel that it is not just for Jazz musicians to be looking back on, this is important history for us all’.

After his recital and graduation, Jackson Mathod spent the summer touring with an Indie band called Eliza and the Bear. He playsJackson Mathod with a variety of bands including a ska band called The Kubricks as well as playing at various functions, session work and some private teaching. Click here for a video of Jackson playing with Eliza and the Bear on the number Friends.



Jackson Mathod (Stage Right Photography)

 

‘In time,’ he says, ‘I would like my own jazz touring group, in whatever style that may be. At the moment I am trying to survive as a professional musician, writing my own material and playing with a wide variety of bands in a range of different genres. I cannot afford to turn down anything, because at this stage I just want people to hear me play. I am still learning more each day and my own sound. I am excited for what the future holds.’

You can be sure that it will be something distinctive and entertaining. It is some years since Jackson gave up performing in drama productions at school, but the ability to engage and capture the attention of the audience remains. You can see it back in February 2013 in his mid-year performance at the Guildhall where, much to everyone’s surprise, he took the music from the stage and into the audience (click here). The vocalist is Harriet Syndercombe Court.

If you have the chance to go to one of Jackson’s gigs, you will hear some excellent trumpet playing. We think that the Jazzwise recommendation to look out for him in 2012 and far beyond.

In 2016, Jackson was performing with a number of bands including Sega And The Boombox, a 6-piece band from London specialising in 90's and 00's music. Formed in 2014 the band came together to take a nostalgia trip through the 90's and 00's. The repertoire varies all the way from the big pop hits to RnB and uk garage (to name a few!). They aim to bring back tunes forgotten about 'whilst having an insane amount of fun in the process'. 'Expect rapping, dancing, shaggy impressions and all other kinds of madness.' Here is theirn promo video:

 

 

 

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