19 October 1966, Ilford, Essex, England. Growing up in a musical environment, Garland first studied classical music composition, meanwhile also listening to recorded jazz. While still in his early teens, he played professionally and was profoundly influenced by a chance encounter with saxophonist Tony Coe. Nevertheless, he did not turn purposefully to reed instruments as a means of expressing his musical thought until he was 20. In those intervening years, Garland listened to and was influenced by several of the musicians recording for ECM Records, among them Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Pat Metheny and Eberhard Weber. He found in the approach of these artists – and indeed that of the label itself – intriguing echoes of the classical music of his formative years. While studying at the Guildhall School of Music, he was encouraged to learn to play an instrument to professional standards in order to better develop his abilities as a composer. He thus began an intensive and fast learning curve on the tenor saxophone. At this point, he was heavily influenced by Joe Lovano and also by Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor. In 1990, he formed the folk jazz group Lammas with guitarist/composer Don Paterson, eventually recording five albums. During the 10-year life of Lammas, Garland also worked with other musicians in other contexts, including Jason Rebello and drummer Jeremy Stacey.
Towards the end of the decade, Garland joined Chick Corea’s Origin. Encouraged by Corea, he recorded for the pianist’s own label. This was Made By Walking, on which Garland presents a suite commissioned by the 1999 London Jazz Festival and which is performed by musicians such as Gerard Presencer, Avishai Cohen, Geoff Keezer and Joe Locke. Arising from this session, Garland formed his Storms/Nocturnes Trio with Keezer and Locke, meanwhile continuing touring extensively with Origin and he also found the time, and the energy, to form yet another group, the Dean Street Underground Orchestra. Conceived for a one-off gig at London’s Pizza Express, the band stayed together, albeit with changing personnel, for a UK tour and appearances in New York. The band was recorded live on Soho Story. Adding to Garland’s busy schedule, he joined Bill Bruford’s Earthworks as both composer and performer, worked in a John Dankworth big band, and formed the Acoustic Triangle trio, this latter group artfully blending jazz and classical music. In 2003, he formed a new quintet for a recording session with Paul Bollenback (guitar), John Patitucci (bass) and Gary Novak (drums). Also in the early 00s, Garland was appointed composer-in-residence at Newcastle University’s International Centre for Music Studies. In addition to tenor saxophone, Garland also plays soprano saxophone and the bass clarinet. By 2004 Garland had become a leading and potentially highly influential musician on the contemporary UK jazz scene.