Gareth Lockrane started playing at the age of 10 and after raiding his dad's record collection discovered jazz at 14. 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 - BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy. Learning blues guitar solos on the flute at the age of 15 was a formative experience! The initial main flute inspirations were Frank Wess, James Clay, Roland Kirk, Bobby Jaspar and James Moody and later on he fell under the spell of visionaries like Jeremy Steig, Eric Dolphy, Hubert Laws, Paul Horn, James Newton and Eddie Parker amongst many others.
In 1994 he enrolled on the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London where teachers included Stan Sulzmann, Martin Speake, John Thomas and Eddie Parker and where he struck up musical relationships with fellow students the Fishwick brothers, Tom Cawley, 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.
Around this time he began to expand his flute family of instruments to include piccolo, alto and bass flutes as well as the standard C flute.
As well as his own bands,Gareth has been involved in many diverse projects on recording projects and live gigs - as a key member of the late great Bheki Mseleku's group during his last years from 2005 to 2008 and also working extensively with the James Taylor Quartet since 2003, Phil Robson's IMS Quintet featuring Mark Turner, as a featured soloist with Tommy Smith's Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Laurence Cottle's Big Band, bands and recordings led by Quincy Jones, Dick Oatts, Tom Cawley, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Nikki Iles, Jodie Abacus, Reuben James, Lianne La Havas, Christine Tobin, Asaf Sirkis, Eddie Parker, Miguel Gorodi, Michael Janisch, Brian Charette, Michael Kiwanuka, Marti Pellow, Seal, Corrine Bailey Rae, Myles Sanko, Michael ‘Patches’ Stewart, Xantone Blacq, Kate Williams, Khari Cabral Simmons, Bokani Dyer, Guida de Palma, Heritage Orchestra, Adam Glasser, Claudio Passavanti, Dan Messore, Karen Lane, Patrick Cornelius, Sheryl Bailey, Callum Au Big Band, Simon Woolf, Incognito, Max Luthert, Georgia Mancio, Tristan Mailliot, Dave Preston, Nia Lynn's Bannau Trio, Hans Koller, Sirius B, Anita Wardell, Natalie Williams, Paul Booth, Gwilym Simcock, Tom Richards Jazz Orchestra, The National Youth Jazz Orchestra and many more.
Recently Gareth has been a featured soloist on some outstanding movie soundtracks - the 2018 Michael Caine heist thriller "King of Thieves" with composer Benjamin Wallfisch, and the 2019 Steven Soderbergh Netflix movie "The Laundromat" with the legendary David Holmes.
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 2012 album "THE STRUT" is the 'sequel' to PUT THE CAT OUT and has been released on the fabulous independent jazz label Whirlwind Recordings. "THE STRUT" was named "Jazz album in the year" in MOJO magazine!
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. 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. The band play almost exclusively Gareth's compositions and arrangements.
They released an album in 2017 to great acclaim on Whirlwind Recordings - "Fistfight at the Barndance"! Watch this space for a sequel album, it will happen!
Gareth is also heavily involved in the music educational world, as course director of the prestigious junior jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well as regularly teaching at degree and post grad level at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music&Drama and Trinity College of Music, and teaching flute at Kingsdale School in Dulwich. He also teaches regularly on the National Youth Jazz Collective courses across the UK, and every August on the residential Loire Summer School in France run by drummer extraordinaire Tristan Mailliot.
"I also enjoy learning new instruments for fun, music is an endless discovery and there are always new things to learn. As well as keeping up my piano playing, currently on the boil are the EWI (yes i am a closet EWI player!), taking after my dad with the chromatic harmonica and also many different ethnic flutes and whistles. A space-age sonic array of delays and guitar/synth effects to use with the flute that i'll bring to any gig where the other guys in the band will put up with it as well. Watch this space!" "I'm definitely a sax owner not a sax player at this point, but who knows in future!"
GL, May 2020