Gareth started playing at the age of 10 and, after raiding his dad’s record collection, discovered jazz at 14. Early influences on flute were saxophone “doublers” like Frank Wess, James Clay, Roland Kirk, Bobby Jaspar and James Moody and later on he fell under the spell of flute visionaries like Jeremy Steig, Eric Dolphy, Hubert Laws, Paul Horn, Eddie Parker and James Newton.
In 1994 he enrolled on the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London where his teachers included Stan Sulzmann, Hugh Fraser, Mark Lockheart and Eddie Parker and where he struck up musical relationships with fellow students the Fishwick brothers, Osian Roberts, Orlando le Fleming and others.
He joined NYJO in 1996, occupying the flute chair periodically until 2003, during which time he formed his own band, The Jazz System, with Osian Roberts, which was a finalist in the 1997 Vienna Jazz Festival Grande Concours de Jazz. In 1998, Gareth studied on the Lake Placid Jazz Course in New York with Joe Lovano, Dick Oatts and Jim McNeely and in 2000 was a finalist in the Young Jazz Musician of the Year competition.
In 2002, he formed the band Grooveyard with saxophonist Alex Garnett, which released a critically acclaimed CD Put The Cat Out, which went on to win the Best European Jazz Group award in the 2003 Granada Jazz Festival. Grooveyard completed a successful Jazz Services tour of the UK in 2005.
From 2006, in search of some fresh musical challenges. Gareth enrolled on the prestigious MA course in film composition at the National Film & Television School, graduating in 2008.
He also founded his own Septet, which released the album No Messin’ in 2009 and went on to win best album in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards that year. This band featured NYJO alumni Robbie Robson (trumpet), Steve Kaldestad (sax), Trevor Mires (trombone/euphonium), Robin Aspland (piano), Matt Miles (bass) and Matt Home (drums).
Gareth also formed his own big band – a fruition of all Gareth’s musical interests – combining the cinematic influences of greats such as Jerry Fielding, Lalo Schifrin and Bernard Herrmann with the soul jazz and unrestrained improvisatory nature of Grooveyard and the intricate through-composed nature of his Septet writing. Making its debut in the 2008 London Jazz Festival, and influenced by, amongst others, Gil Evans, Maria Schneider, Kenny Wheeler, Jim McNeely, Thad Jones, Basie and Mingus, the band blends heavy grooves and luscious orchestrations to spectacular effect.
Gareth is also heavily involved in the music educational world, as course director of the junior jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well as regularly teaching at degree level at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Trinity College of Music, and teaching flute at Kingsdale School in Dulwich. He also teaches regularly on the residential Loire Summer School in France, and on the Jazz Academy course