Matt Carmichael

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  • 3. Road to the Sea 1.29
  • 4. Waves 6.24
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  • 6. Horizon 9.58
  • 7. There Will Be Better Days 4.17
  • 8. On The Gloaming Shore (pt.1) 2.27
  • 9. On The Gloaming Shore (pt.2) 7.10
Pre-Order Now! Coloured Vinyl available in January 2023

Release date: 28 October 2022

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Glasgow-based saxophonist and composer Matt Carmichael releases his second album Marram: a record influenced as much by jazz as by folk music that encapsulates the openness and emotiveness of the Scottish coastal landscape.

Credits and About

Matt Carmichael Tenor Saxophone

Fergus McCreadie Piano

Ali Watson Double Bass

Tom Potter Drums

Charlie Stewart Fiddle

Music composed by Matt Carmichael

Produced by Matt Carmichael
Executive producer Dave Stapleton

Recorded by Garry Boyle at Castlesound Studios, Pencaitland, 19-20 October 2021
Mixed by James McMillan at Quietmoney Studios, Hastings
Mastered by Michael Scherchen at The Mix Factory, London

Album artwork by Oli Bentley, Split
Photography by David Clapp

Special thanks to Creative Scotland for making this album financially possible and to the team at Edition Records for believing in the music. To Ali, Tom, Fergus and Charlie thanks for your friendship, inspiration and for bringing this music to life.

There’s something about the scenes outside of the capital cities that allows an additional spark of individualism and creativity to emerge. Perhaps there’s a reduced expectation or peer pressure, that consequently drives and allows space for a greater innovation, creativity and experimentation, built with more individuality. For the UK, Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds are a few such scenes but recently Glasgow has been in the limelight and become a powerhouse of creativity and culture. One of the major new voices in that burgeoning scene is Matt Carmichael – a saxophonist and composer with an individual sound, who brings the focus of continuous melodic improvisation of Folk music to a Jazz landscape.

Marram takes its influence from the drama, moods and expansiveness of the coastal imagery of Scotland. But rather than the music being inspired by the landscapes, it’s more the other way round, where the image of the sea encapsulates the openness and emotiveness Matt is trying to communicate in his music. The album also talks about escapism, of flow and the push and pull or drama that the sea evokes. For Matt, his music “wants to have a transportive element…the sea can be calm, but can also be tempestuous, a space where lots of different moods, emotions and energies can be conveyed, lots of different elements of nature found”.

Marram, his second album, is his first with Edition and follows on from his highly successful self-released debut ‘Where Will The River Flow’. Released in March 2021 to critical acclaim throughout Europe including a 5 star review in BBC Music Magazine, the bold and commanding debut gained over 2 million streams  and was long-listed for the multi-genre Scottish Album of the Year Award. In Oct 2021 it prompted an invitation from GRAMMY Award-winning WDR Big Band to be a guest soloist performing Bob Mintzer’s arrangements of Matt’s music.

His debut was the start of a long journey and an album that allowed his music to flow naturally to find its own path, much like the rivers do, hence the title ‘Where Will The River Flow’. It was about efficiency and unpredictability, about a voice finding his own individual path, meandering the obstacles, and searching for his identity. Marram is a natural development on Where Will the River Flow – they are connected yet have different goals. Marram sees Matt’s compositional identity come into its own, represented perfectly by the story and emotion of what the Scottish landscape evokes.

As Matt explains: ‘It feels like with Marram, I have a clearer vision and confidence in the sound world I want to create and continue expanding on. Much like the Scottish coastline, I want my music to have drama, to evoke an emotional response, with an openness of to explore, to transport the listener away from everyday life, even just for a moment”.

For Matt, his experiences with Jazz and Folk music allow him to bring what he sees as the most interesting aspects of each genre to his music. Whilst studying, his discovery of Folk was almost a rebellion towards the expectation of having to focus on more conventional Jazz: playing with Folk artists offered a greater focus and purity of melody, and it’s this focus on melody that takes centre-stage in Marram: “I love the way folk musicians improvise – they are improvising all the time, but the melody is always the focus whilst the improvisation is more collective and less centred around one player”. Matt sees his role in this group more like a vocalist, to convey the melody, something that was instilled early on in his development playing hymn melodies on his saxophone to support church congregations.

Looking back at his career in 10-15 years time, Marram will without doubt be an album that marked a turning-point in Matt’s career: the album that will have defined his sound and set him on his own path of discovery of larger ‘seas,’ ‘oceans’ and horizons. It’s honest and deeply individual, a vital hallmark that stands out in an ever-crowded landscape of new music. It’s a seminal record that will see him take strides to a more global audience.

What the critics said

‘A rising star of the Scottish Jazz Scene’ Jamie Cullum, BBC Radio 2

‘A touch of longing pervades the sound of Fiddle and Carmichael’s saxophone’ Rondo (DE)

‘…an impressive range of emotion and energy.’ Rhythms Magazine (Aus)

‘…an upbeat ethno-folk jazz record…’ Ilkka Pohjalainen (FI)

‘…makes the reference to Scottish folk music clearly audible.’ WDR 3 (DE)

‘…strong melodies and dramatic landscapes guide their performance…’ Jazz Journal (UK)

‘…un album profondément personnel, d’une sincérité profonde.’ France Musique

‘…a musical expression that is both beautiful and wild.’ Nettavisen (NO)

‘A really beautiful listen’ BBC Radio Scotland

‘Best enjoyed with a Talisker 10 year old single malt whiskey in hand.’ Jazz Halo (BE)

‘Brilliant music – really hypnotic…’ BBC Radio Scotland

‘Carmichael is really on to a distinct, singular sound only two albums into his career.’ Making A Scene! (US)

‘The way the five portray the Scottish beach landscape makes you want to set off on a relaxing holiday’  Rondo (DE)

“It fits seamlessly into the Jazz meets Folk concept…’ Jazz Halo (BE)

“…mixes full-throated broken-note vocalisations with passages of lush romanticism.’  All About Jazz

“Sax prodigy” The Scotsman

‘The whole album feels carefully composed, a clear statement of Carmichael’s intent as a folk infused jazz musician with very definite roots in his homeland.’ Jazzwise (UK)

‘…there’s a real depth of feeling to this music.’ Tiny Letter (Scotland)

‘What is special about his music is a fascinating balancing act between jazz and traditional Scottish music…a refreshing excursion to a coast that is still wild’ SWR2

‘A wonderful new breeze through jazz, with the strong influences from Scottish folk music.’ East Side FM (AUS) 

‘…effortless virtuosity.’ BR-KLASSIK (DE)

‘Gorgeous Stuff!’ BBC Radio Scotland

‘His songs sound cozy and danceable.’ Kulturtipp (CH)


"A rising star of the Scottish Jazz Scene"

Jamie Cullum, BBC Radio 2

"Carmichael is really on to a distinct, singular sound only two albums into his career."

Making A Scene! (US)


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