Lighthouse Trio

Tim Garland interview

with Joanne Kee

Three  years ago Tim was here with the Lighthouse Trio and five years ago as a Producer for Chic Corea on the Grammy award winning New Crystal Silence album with Gary Burton.  (He did the symphonic arrangement.)  Everyone who caught them raved about their performance.  They are back and this time around to top off their national tour will be headlining at Wangaratta Jazz Festival.

The trip to Asia is part of a larger tour (check out their website for a tour schedule)

JK:       Are you enjoying your tour, do you enjoy the travel?

Its great to be on the road.  We are in Seoul today and in a couple of days Malaysia.  These days to get substantial tour is quite a precious thing.  One thing in our favour is there are just three of us.  We have been working together for 8 years and have a really strong rapport so it can sound like a mini orchestra.

JK:       I notice that you are playing new material, the blurb says inspired Celtic rhythms and an eclectic mix of Chick Corea, Bill Bruford, Yellowjackets, John Coltrane, and DJ Carl Cox, it’s a great mix.  Tell me about composing.

TG:      I write for what brings out the best qualities in musicians.  The purpose is to bring out the best in the musicians. For example Asaf comes from Israel and certain rhythms are natural to him, desert rhythms come into play

JK:       From the album which is your favourite piece?

Lets see, one which has a celtic gentler feel “Wind on Water”  The record company were keen to have what influenced me, from where I am from the folk scene is very strong.  I live near the Scottish border in Northumbria.

JK:       Is that your favourite to play?

TG:      To play, one that Gwilym write, Mr Barolo.  I get to stretch out.  Every time we play it is different. Tthat’s the great thing about jazz it’s a living, breathing thing.

JK:       How do you split your time between composing and playing?

TG      They are my two arms I need them both.  One inspires the other. I do as much 50/50 as I can.  One good thing about writing is that you can do it anywhere.  I have a young family and can do a lot of writing and see them as well.

I do 60 or 70 concerts a year, so spend a lot of time on the road.

JK:       How many hours a week do you spend practising?

TG:      When I was younger all day.  I would get up and start playing and look out to get something to eat and it was dark.  Every musician who feels passionate and wants to play at an international level will do this at some point in the their life, but you don’t need to do this all your life.

For me it is about the interaction between instruments and the trio.

Lots of people can play high, fast and loud.  What moves us is the close connection with each other.

JK:       When you compose, what is your main source of inspiration?

TG:      Often people I am writing for, if I know it is the Lighthouse I know how far they can actually take the music and stretch it and make it their own.

Sometimes a title will come and give me a strong sense. For example Wind on the Water came from being by the beach.  I can walk on the beach at midnight, a very inspiring time to wander.

When you are younger there is more of an appreciation of the magic in things.  When you are older it’s not as much.

The music preserves and captures moments of real magic, things that can’t be expressed in words.

JK:       You are all incredibly busy.  Tell me about other projects you are working on at the moment?

TG:     A lot of work on Lighthouse which for all of us is our main band.

Also a brand new Chic Corea band at the start of next year.  He has always been a hero of mine.

Then there is a big symphonic work for strings and sax.  Songs to the North Sky.  I have twin lives in the north and south of England and this is somewhat autobiographical.

JK:       Do you think abou the audience when you play?

TG:      All the time.  I seek to make sure everything communicates.

To share the joy we have together on stage.  Without audiences there is no concert.  So we are concerned with the melody.  Some people are scared off jazz as they think they will find it hard to appreciate or it sounds like squeaky music.  We try to communicate, unfolding memory.


Celebrating their signing to the prestigious German label ACT, the hugely successful Lighthouse are back with their original personnel after two years working on other projects. Grammy winner Tim Garland and Barclaycard Mercury nominated pianist Gwilym Simcock are two of the most outstanding composers of our time in both jazz and classical genres and are regarded as among the very best in the world on their respective instruments. With Asaf Sirkis playing a custom built percussion set of frame drums, bass Udu, Hang drum and more Lighthouse exude a very special energy and excitement in performance.

If you would like to see and hear the Lighthouse Trio, they will be on tour from 27 October to 3rd November, culminating in performances at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz.

They will also be performing in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

27 & 28 October – Perth, Ellingtons –

Tue 30Brisbane – The Powerhouse –

Wed 31 – Sydney, Venue 505            –

Thu 1   – Melbourne – Bennetts Lane

Fri 2, Sat 3 November – Wangaratta Festival –

For more information on the trio