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Alan Cooper Reviews: Laura Jurd and Dinosaur

In association with JAZZ at the BLUE LAMP

LAURA JURD: Trumpet and Electronics
ELLIOT GALVIN: Keyboard synth
CONOR CHAPLIN: Electric Bass
CORRIE DICK: Drums

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Laura Jurd and Dinosaur represented this year’s Jazz input for soundfestival. A large audience packed the Blue Lamp to hear this fabulous quartet of young virtuosi perform many of the pieces on their recently recorded CD. The quality of their playing is revealed by the fact that Dinosaur are currently listed among BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists.

Their style of electric-jazz brings together amazing improvisation and precision ensemble work (their new CD is fittingly entitled Together, As One) in music that blends rock rhythms, along with folk elements in an exciting jazz mixture.

Their opening number, Awakening, began with a continuous electronic note set off by Laura Jurd who as well as being the trumpet leader of the quartet also worked the electronics. At the same time, keyboardist Elliot Galvin using a Nord Piano 2 was able to change timbre, add echoes or delays into the notes he was playing so that the quartet could be made to sound like a much larger and wider ranging ensemble. Complex trumpet improvisation was backed by highly charged keyboard playing by Elliot Galvin who throughout the concert rode his instrument hard, his whole body working with the rhythms he was generating. He was amazing - definitely “in the groove” as they say. There was constancy in the drums and bass as the music grew and developed.

The second piece that followed on was entitled Robin. It moved through an exciting succession of rock rhythms that made the music intoxicating.

Living, Breathing, was a longer piece with so many differently coloured sections. Keyboard, bass and drums developed a repetitive rhythmic backing, intensely hypnotic while Laura’s trumpet soared above. Challenging keyboard chords, dissonant yet compellingly attractive, were topped by swirling threads of trumpet sound before the piece took off and all four musicians joined in creating a thrilling “wall of sound”.

In the final piece of the first half, Happy Sad Song, there were no electronics. It began with an extended keyboard solo. A chiming chord series landed on bass notes which could have been guitar but were actually on the lowest part of the keyboard. This feature grew more rhythmical, melodic and finally contrapuntal melting into an accompaniment with drums and bass before the trumpet took flight once again.

The second part of the concert began without electronics. Short jabs of trumpet sound followed by fanfare-like motifs brought the audience to attention in the first of two conjoined numbers, Steadily Sinking and Extinct. In the second number, Laura Jurd worked on electronics as well as trumpet – an amazing demonstration of her total control of the music which had an almost Eastern flavour about it.
Primordial was the title of a piece which showcased the drum skills of Corrie Dick. Starting with whispering brush work and echoing little stick taps he worked into a splendidly imaginative drum solo with rolls, fast repeated notes on pedal and leading finally to crazy virtuosity and even moments of comedy too. Then as the rest of the quartet came in, the music went red hot again.

The Quartet’s final piece was entitled Interlude. The drum part sounded not unlike Scottish pipe band drumming to begin with before morphing into something more exotic. The trumpet with keyboard support had something of the flavour of Ravel’s Bolero. It was really quite mesmerising and made a fine conclusion to this soundfestival concert leaving the audience wanting more – always a good idea rather than the other way round.

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