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Trumpet and flugelhorn player Miguel Gorodi is partly English, partly Hungarian and was born in Spain. One of the benefits of such a pedigree is that you end up with a name that people are likely to remember.

His father also plays trumpet and graduated from the Royal Academy whilst Miguel’s mother playsMiguel Gorodi piano and violin. Miguel’s parents started teaching music in England before deciding to move to Kuwait and then on to Spain where Miguel was born in 1990. By the time he was five, the family moved again to Saudi Arabia, and he started learning the piano by the time he was six.

At the age of eight, his father asked him if he would like to learn to play trumpet and so he began lessons. But there were other distractions. Miguel was a very competent and competitive swimmer, and his interest in music had strayed to playing drums in a rock band. Nevertheless, by the time his father was appointed Head of Music at a school in Bangkok and the family moved again, Miguel was taking the trumpet seriously and was beginning to realise that he wanted to be a musician. He took his Grade 7 trumpet exam on his 14th birthday.

How many times do unforseen circumstances affect the direction our lives take? Although Miguel’s father had played in a New Orleans band in Spain, the focus on music in the family had been on classical music, not jazz.

‘My dad had been teaching me trumpet,’ Miguel explains, ‘and then when I was preparing for Grade 8 I started to have problems with my embrasure. I later learned that is not unusual, but I had developed a bad way of playing. Correcting it was almost like starting again, and I took a few months break from my Grades. I started playing along to some of my dad’s Louis Armstrong records which provided some relief from the frustrating process of changing my embrasure. I was copying hundreds of Louis Armstrong solos ... and then my tutor let me borrow his collection of Blue Note recordings and I discovered Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.’

Miguel Gorodi and Nick Breakspear

The second change factor came when Miguel and his brothers began to think about where they belonged. Their lives had been rich living and growing up in the different countries where their parents had worked, but where was home? Where did England fit in to the picture? Miguel’s mother still had family living in Somerset and so it was agreed that Miguel should audition for a place at Wells Cathedral School, a school with a strong musical reputation. He passed the audition and was granted a scholarship, and so at sixteen, he and his family set off for England where his brothers enrolled at the Kings of Wessex School and Fairlands School in Cheddar.

Looking back, Miguel says: ‘The Cathedral School provided an amazing environment to focus on musical studies, and being surrounded by fantastic musicians was hugely inspiring. Apart from a great big band though, there was not a great deal of jazz input. They did provide a good springboard for going on to music degree. I had been having lessons in London with Martin Shaw and then with Nick Smart who really changed things around for me. I applied to the Royal Academy, Trinity, Birmingham and Guildhall. I was offered places at Birmingham and Guildhall and ended up at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. It helped to know that Nick was one of the tutors there although he later moved to the Academy.’

‘It was a good course at Guildhall. I had to supplement my student loan, as many students do, and my swimming came in handy doing a job as a lifeguard during the summer. I did concentrate on my playing though and felt I developed hugely over the four years.’

Miguel with Peter King‘By the second year, I was starting to get gigs and by the fourth year we were looking at how to develop a career in music and which types of work could bring in some money – teaching, arranging, transposing, etc.’

Miguel playing with Peter King
(Photograph by Brian O'Connor)

‘I had a friend at Kings College, Cambridge who organised gigs there. He was booking people like Peter King, Christine Tobin, Ian Shaw and Trevor Tomkins and he asked me if I would like to play. I met singer Ian Shaw there and we really got on. Ian asked if I would be interested in getting together at some time, but I didn’t expect anything to come from it. It was great when one day Ian called and asked if I fancied sitting in on one of his gigs. I ended up playing with Ian a fair bit, and I was really pleased when he asked if I would join his band for two nights at Ronnie Scott’s Club followed by a recording session at Abbey Road for his album The Abbey Road Sessions. I played with his band sporadically for a couple of years, which was a fantastic learning experience, as well as a lot of fun!’

Click here for a video trailer for the Abbey Road Sessions album. Click here for the album review.

Miguel GorodiMiguel graduated from the Guildhall School of Music in 2012, and with saxophonist Sam Braysher is now a fellow at the college. They have their own pianoless Quartet and organise Alumni Ensembles and weekly Jam nights for students. Miguel is also taking time to focus on composing and developing his concept. He is half of the Gorodi/Ingamells duet – a trumpet/drums line-up that plays avant-garde, improvised music (which features David Ingamells on drums).

You can hear Miguel playing at the Spice of Life in London with the London City Big Band on the last Sunday of every month. Click here for Miguel (far left in the trumpet line) and the London City Big Band playing on an introductory video

Miguel plays a Conn trumpet and an Eclipse flugelhorn. He is available for teaching trumpet and flugelhorn in the London area and can be contacted by email at la_linia@hotmail.com

Miguel Gorodi is one of the very talented musicians currently emerging from the UK conservatories of music, listen out for his name – it is easy to remember.


© Miguel Gorodi and Ian Maund 2013 - 2016

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