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Matthew Bourne

b. 6 October 1977, Avebury, Wiltshire, England. Bourne began playing trombone at the age of nine, took up the cello at 13 and two years after that taught himself to play piano, assimilating the music of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and George Gershwin. Rapid progress on cello and piano led to the abandonment of the trombone. All of this was while he was attending primary and secondary schools and by 1995 he was an accomplished musician. In that same year, Bourne began taking an interest in jazz. Also in 1995, he raised £1, 500 for the Hawksley Romania Trust by improvising at the piano for 24 hours. In 1996, he bought a Fender Rhodes electric piano and began studying at the Leeds College of Music. During the next few years at Leeds, Bourne began to develop a passion for British jazz of the 70s and in particular musicians such as John Surman, Mike Osborne, Evan Parker and Mike Westbrook, all of whom continued to be constant sources of inspiration. Concurrently, Bourne began to conform less and less to the mainstream approach to jazz and explored instead the world of contemporary composition and the avant garde. During this same period, he was also plagued by severe attacks of tendonitis, something that had first appeared in the aftermath of his 24-hour charity marathon. He became involved in the college’s contemporary music ensemble, playing John Cage, Morton Feldman and Louis Andriessen, and was soloist in Michael Daugherty’s piano concerto, ‘Tombeau De Liberace’ and Cage’s ‘Concerto For Prepared Piano And Orchestra’.

After graduating in 2001 with a first class degree, Bourne continued to study, for a PhD in Performance, at Leeds University, which he attained in 2004. In 2001, he won the Young Jazz Musician category of the Perrier Awards. Other winners included singer Niki King and the Chris Hutchings Quartet and they all shared a resulting album. The following year he won the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation. Among bands with which he has played, as leader or co-leader, are the Electric Dr M, Distortion Trio, Bourne Davis Kane with Steve Davis (drums) and Dave Kane (bass), and solo projects. Bourne has also performed solo or with one of his groups in Belgium, Bulgaria, France and Poland.

A dynamic, forceful and risk-taking pianist, Bourne defies pigeonholing but is kin to artists on the nu-jazz scene. Categories such as this deny his broad appeal however. He draws not only upon the jazz piano tradition of Count Basie, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk, themselves a varied assortment, but also upon the worlds of pop and classical music, in the latter case immersing himself in the avant garde.
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