So here's what you need to know about Gavin Templeton.
As a solo artist and composer, he's released four critically-acclaimed albums. His style's often described as ‘cinematic’ and ‘motivic’ with an “assured yet adventurous voice” (Josef Woodward, DownBeat).
As a performer, Templeton's a sought-after concert and recording artist. He's recorded on albums by Nels Cline (Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists), collaborated with avant-garde jazz legend Vinny Golia, performed with Grammy nominated big band leader Alan Ferber and participated in the premieres of numerous classical and chamber works, most recently Gavin Bryars' US premiere of the opera Marilyn Forever.
He's performed internationally as a featured soloist and collaborating artist at Angel City Jazz Festival, the Seattle Ballard Jazz Festival, the Milestones Jazz Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Templeton's career began in the nightclubs of Reno, Nevada while he was still a teen, invited to join seasoned jazzers for weekly hits where he soaked up the language of blues, soul and bebop. At 18, he was invited to play onstage with visiting artists, including Wayne Newton and The Temptations.
These experiences fueled his passion for music, and he enrolled in the Jazz Studies program at the University of Nevada, Reno. However, Gavin never confined himself to one genre of music. In addition to jazz, he started a punk band and played regularly with funk, rock and soul groups.
Templeton continued to explore music at California Institute of the Arts where he learned from Charlie Haden, Joe LaBarbera, Vinny Golia, Swapan Chaudhuri, and Alfred Ladzepko among others.
It is this wide array of influences that continue to create the unique sound that defines Gavin's compositions and improvisations. As a musician, he is consistently called world-class, one of the few performers that everyone should see in their lifetimes. His understanding of technique, rhythmic cycles and chord changes, paired with his diverse training in a variety of performance styles, allows him to weave unparalleled improvisational lines.
As a composer, Templeton has a unique and soulful voice that draws upon an intense understanding of classical harmonic progression, a jazz ear for lush and vividly colorful chords, and a reverence for beautiful melodic line. He is one of the few musicians and composers who consistently delivers an "alluring vision of the ever-evolving sound of L.A." (Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times)
Outside of performing and composing, Templeton devotes considerable energy toward championing music and music education. He's a founding member of Creative Underground Los Angeles, a group which strives to bring attention to the vibrant LA creative art scene. Gavin also sets aside time to teach and mentor young musicians by providing private lessons at his Los Angeles home.
BEST OF 2013
In Series (S. Victor Aaron, Something Else)
BEST OF 2014
Some Spinning Some At Rest (Robert Bush, All About Jazz)
"Templeton has documented one of the finest saxophone trio recordings in recent memory” – Robert Bush, All About Jazz
Sidebar notes from author/filmmaker John Skipp:
“Gavin Templeton is, I think, the single finest alto sax player I've ever heard. He's also an extraordinary composer, as you can witness in this live session (of Astersperious Special).
“DownBeat compares him to Ornette Coleman and Henry Threadgill, which totally works, but Wayne Shorter's the guy who leaps most immediately to mind, both as player and composer. It's the elegance, the beauty and restraint of his moodily complex melodies and phrasing. Whereas pop music works entirely in short, simple, repetitive phrases, his solos speak in complete sentences, weaving whole paragraphs of stunning dexterity and erudition. And, oh yeah, occasionally exploding in blistering torrents of sheer sonic annihilation.
“Most writing about jazz tends to be painfully academic, which kills me, because it's such LIVING MUSIC. I listen to sounds like this and think, "This music doesn't need a cage. It needs a wildlife preserve, where creations this majestic can roam free, and be treasured forever."
“So I'm just gonna say this. In the theater of my mind, his music occupies a cinematic space somewhere between Jerry Goldsmith and a David Lynch film, with echoes of bebop and Stravinsky deep in the weave.
“And his work with the cream of L.A.'s insanely vibrant jazz scene, including composer and trumpet pioneer Daniel Rosenboom, has me convinced that there's a modern renaissance at hand. One in which he is utterly indispensable.
“I suggest you take a moment to treasure the sounds of this humble genius. And, like myself, go, 'Holy shit.' Because that's how good this is.”