The only British member of the Grammy-winning U.S. jazz-funk band Snarky Puppy, Laurance has three albums in his own name planned for this year. This first one finds the keyboard virtuoso in a New Orleans studio with Snarky’s bassist/leader Michael League and drummer Robert “Sput” Searight.
Possibly the most crucial member of the band, though, is New Orleans percussionist Weedie Braimha. The music is heavily groove-based and these grooves are rooted in the percussion which gives the music a swirling African pulse and dance-friendly nature.
Laurance is assured on all kinds of keyboards, often laying down synth textures over a core acoustic piano theme or switching seamlessly from one to another. He, League and Searight have an astute funkiness about everything they do so even when the music gets more delicate, the internal rhythms are still sinewy.
Laurance nearly called off the recording session because he felt he had insufficient material. As it turns out the album benefits from the freedom this gave the musicians to create in the moment. Of course, all that spontaneity doesn’t mean it sounds sloppy in any way; these players must be the most match-fit around.
- Bill Laurence is currently touring in these isles, with dates at Band On The Wall in Manchester tomorrow, The Wardrobe in Leeds on Wednesday, The Stables, near Milton Keynes, on Thursday, the Sugar Club in Dublin on Friday, St Luke’s in Cork on Saturday, and Ronnie Scott’s in London Monday to Wednesday next week. More on his website here.
Categories: CD review