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Michael Garrick


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Michael Garrick, M.B.E. (1933-2011) was an English jazz pianist and composer, and a pioneer of poetry and jazz concerts.

Garrick was born on 30th May 1933 in Enfield, Middlesex, and educated at University College, London (U.C.L.), from which he graduated in 1959 with a B.A. in English literature. As a student there he formed his first quartet. Aside from some lessons at the Ivor Mairants School of Dance Music he was an entirely self-taught musician (he had been expelled from Eleanor B. Franklin-Pike’s piano lessons for quoting from “In the Mood” at a pupils’ concert), though he attended Berklee College, Boston, as a mature student in the 1970s.

Soon after graduation from U.C.L., Garrick became the musical director of “Poetry & Jazz in Concert”, a roadshow devised by poet and publisher Jeremy Robson, and involving writers as diverse as Laurie Lee, Adrian Mitchell, Vernon Scannell, Spike Milligan, Dannie Abse, and John Smith. Garrick’s quintet at this time included Joe Harriott and Shake Keane.

He played piano with The Don Rendell & Ian Carr Quintet from 1965 to 1969, and led his own sextet from 1966.

Garrick is perhaps best known for his of jazz-choral works, the first of which he started in 1967, Jazz Praises — a religious work for his sextet and a large choir. With John Smith he produced a series of such works, starting in 1969 with Mr Smith’s Apocalypse for sextet, speakers, and chorus, which had its premiere at the Farnham Festival. He is also interested in Indian classical music, which has influenced many of his compositions.


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