There used to be a thing at the end of the last millennium called Nu Jazz – a combination of jazz, funk, soul and electronic dance music. I don’t think the description is used any more but Trope is clearly a direct descendent of that kind of thinking, albeit doing it in a thoroughly original, 2015 kind of way.
The band is a Birmingham-based five-piece, fronted by charismatic singer Cherise Adams Burnett, with Andy Bunting, the chief composer, on piano and keyboards, Thomas Seminar Ford on guitar, Nick Jurd on bass and Jonathan Silk on drums.
On their new EP, Butterflies & Dragons, which is launched this evening at Pilgrimage, the monthly night hosted by Young Pilgrims at The Sun At The Station in Kings Heath, the band has guests Joe Wright on tenor saxophone, Young Pilgrims on horns and a string quartet for good measure.
The music on the EP is not only heavy on the funk, but it is also sophisticated writing with complex melodies and harmonies which might pose something of a challenge to less skilled musicians. Burnett is particularly impressive weaving through the shifts and turns of a tune like Take with thorough sure-footedness, making it all sound easy. It’s also great to hear these players familiar from the local acoustic jazz scene extended their talents in a more electric and funkier direction.
Trope will be playing this music this evening, alongside the Pilgrims’ other guest band this evening, the organ trio of David Ferris, Ben Lee and Oscar Reynolds that calls itself Three-Step Manoeuvre, and of course Young Pilgrims themselves. It looks like it will be a storming night.
It starts at 8pm, entrance is £6.