Trumpeter Laura Jurd has assembled an octet – trumpet, piano, double bass and drums plus a string quartet – to play what feels - in coherence of mood and harmony - like a cohesive suite of her own composition.
From the opening Flight Music through to The Cross-Atlantic Antics Of Madame Souza, with The Lady Of Bruntal, a Happy Sad Song, the title track and Tales Of The Old Country along the way, plus three interspersed trumpet/piano duets, the speakers are filled with a compelling mix of Latin-tinged grooves, rich string writing and some sometimes lyrical, sometimes fiery, sometimes strongly contemporary classical playing.
A lot of the music sounds through-composed, with artful arrangements of the instruments that brings out their strong points. Although Elliot Galvin on piano, Conor Chaplin on bass and Corrie Dick on percussion are given some solo space, it feels unfair to single anyone out because the music’s strength is in its group playing.
Her own sound is characterful, personal and rich with nuance, and her writing too has a very distinct and immediately identifiable personality. Even though at times I find myself thinking of Maria Schneider in the harmonies and general feel of the writing, it’s also true that if you’re going to copy, then copy the best there is.
And Laura does give it all her own twist, especially in those more adventurous duets and in the final group piece. I’m fairly certain that in the future I might hear just a little trumpet phrase or a nugget of composition and say: ah, that’s Laura Jurd! To have so immediately established a personal voice in the bustling world of modern musical overload is a rare talent indeed.
It’s also just lovely to listen to – full of good tunes, sensitive playing, and fresh twists and turns.
This album would be a fine achievement as a fourth or fifth release by an established musician in their 30s or 40s. That it is the debut of a 22-year-old currently studying at Trinity College in London is extraordinary.
Here is a taste: