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Dinosaur - Together, As One Rating: 4 out of 5 Taking their cue from “Bitches Brew” era Miles Davis the quartet place their own stamp on the sonic terrain pioneered by Davis with a set of eight original Laura Jurd compositions.

Dinosaur

“Together, As One”

(Edition Records EDN 1078)

The twenty six year old trumpeter, keyboard player and composer Laura Jurd has attracted a compelling amount of critical praise since exploding into the British jazz consciousness in 2013 with the release of her astonishingly mature début album “Landing Ground” with its stunning mix of jazz and classical elements and influences.

A graduate of London’s Trinity Laban College of Music the Hampshire born Jurd has continued to traverse musical boundaries. 2014’s sprawling and ambitious “Human Spirit” introduced a folk element and was a semi-conceptual song cycle featuring the extraordinary vocals of the Irish born singer Lauren Kinsella.

Jurd and Kinsella united again as the female half of the quartet Blue-Eyed Hawk which fused elements of jazz, literature and indie rock together on 2014’s superb “Under the Moon” album. The band also featured guitarist Alex Roth and drummer Corrie Dick.

Dick, pianist Elliot Galvin and bassist Conor Chaplin have formed the core of Jurd’s working band from the beginning, first as the Laura Jurd Quartet and more recently as Dinosaur. All are members of the Chaos Collective, an aggregation of former Trinity students forged in the wake of the influential F-ire and Loop Collectives. Under Jurd’s direction the large ensemble Chaos Orchestra recorded the album “Island Mentality” which was released on the Collective’s own label in 2013.

The versatile Jurd has also appeared in a variety of other contexts ranging from the free to the straightahead (the latter alongside veteran saxophonist Art Themen) and she and Dick recently appeared on Phronesis’ bassist Jasper Hoiby’s début solo album “Fellow Creatures”. Jurd has also featured in bands led by saxophonist Phil Meadows, bassist Huw V Williams and in Wildflower Sextet, the Wayne Shorter inspired group led by saxophonist Matt Anderson.

As a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist she is currently working on a large scale composition that will feature Dinosaur alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra and will be premièred at the 2016 EFG London Jazz Festival.

The change of name to Dinosaur was prompted by the kind of music Jurd and her group are now playing with the focus being placed increasingly on electric instruments. Taking their cue from “Bitches Brew” era Miles Davis the quartet place their own stamp on the sonic terrain pioneered by Davis with a set of eight original Jurd compositions.

The instrumentation on “Together, As One” includes Jurd on both trumpet and synthesiser, Galvin doubling on Fender Rhodes and Hammond and Chaplin, once of WorldService Project, specialising on electric bass.  Jurd plays the trumpet acoustically and it’s fascinating to listen to the way in which she blends it with the electric instruments.

Galvin and Dick are both bandleaders themselves, the keyboard player with his splendidly eclectic and eccentric piano trio and Dick with his Impossible Things ensemble with its jazz, folk, literary and world music influences. Jurd has stated that as composers they feed off one another’s ideas and there’s certainly evidence of this on “Together, As One” although the overwhelming influence remains that of Miles Davis.

The album begins with the eight and a half minute “Awakening” which emerges slowly from an imaginary forest with Jurd’s trumpet sketching snippets of melody around Chaplin’s metronomic electric bass pulse and Dick’s loose limbed drums and percussion. Galvin focusses on Fender Rhodes and the overall effect is very atmospheric and very Miles-ian, albeit with a decidedly contemporary edge. The latter stages of the piece evolve into something of a feature for Dick whose colourful and imaginative drumming is a particularly distinctive feature of the album as a whole. At times he almost seems to lead with his drums and on occasion even seems to serve as a melodic counterpoint to Jurd. In deed Jurd has been quoted as saying; “I feel like the trumpet and the drums in this band are one organism”. Dick has made what he describes as ‘rhythmic pilgrimages’ to West Africa and aspects of this come out in his playing.

“Robin” is an altogether brighter affair with its jaunty, faux naive folk melodies and buoyant grooves. Jurd doubles on synth and trumpet as a series of highly melodic themes intertwine. Although each individual member makes an indispensable contribution and despite Jurd’s trumpet being at the heart of the music as here Dinosaur don’t really do jazz solos in the orthodox manner, the ensemble sound and the interaction between the musicians is paramount – ‘Together, As One’ indeed.

Besides the obvious influence of Davis the music also draws on Steve Reich and the minimalists. An insistent keyboard motif underpins the lively “Living, Breathing” with its alternately bright and brooding trumpet, fluid bass grooves and crisp, inventive drumming. On occasion the four musicians coalesce with some stunning, brilliantly executed ensemble riffing. The overall effect of the piece is both impressive and invigorating.

“Together, As One” has an almost semi-conceptual feel with two shorter pieces “Under Dog” and “Slowly Sinking” bisecting the lengthier compositions that effectively form the first and second halves of the album.

The loosely structured “Underdog” has something of the feel of a jam band workout with Galvin’s array of keyboards taking the lead as Jurd’s trumpet lines snake in and out. As so often Chaplin’s elastic bass grooves form the bedrock while the brilliant Dick is given licence to roam on the kit to excellent effect.

“Steadily Sinking” is shorter and more atmospheric with Galvin’s keyboards again the dominant component as he mixes acoustic piano and church organ sounds with drummer Dick again proving to be the perfect foil.

The tune titles also suggest a kind of semi-concept in keeping with the group’s name. The nine minute “Extinct” is a prime example, a slow burning epic with Galvin’s organ drones and grooves underpinning Jurd’s pensive trumpet ruminations. There’s also some exciting and increasingly instrumental interplay between the pair as the music gathers momentum and Chaplin and Dick take full control of the rhythmic responsibilities.   

“Primordial” features some dirty Rhodes and Hammond driven funk with Jurd’s incisive trumpet clearing a path through the dense rhythmic undergrowth. Galvin’s mercurial keyboard work also impresses with Nick Hasted in his review for Jazzwise magazine drawing a comparison with that of Van Der Graaf Generator’s Hugh Banton. The VDGG comparison is particularly apt as in Corrie Dick Dinosaur have a brilliant and highly individual drummer, surely a contemporary counterpart to the great Guy Evans.

Rather incongruously the album ends with the atmospheric and elegiac “Interlude” with its Miles and minimalism influences, but still subtly hinting at Dinosaur’s latent live power.

I was fortunate enough to witness the group perform live at the Spotted Dog in Birmingham earlier in the year. As this was a pub gig with a collection I wasn’t reviewing and therefore didn’t take notes but I’m fairly certain that much of this music must have been played then. It certainly worked very well in that setting and I’m now hoping to witness, and cover, Dinosaur’s performance with the BBC Concert Orchestra at LJF in November.

I do though have to admit that when I first heard “Together, As One” I was initially a little underwhelmed. The Miles influence seemed to be too pronounced, too obvious, and for me it was only on subsequent, more diligent, listens that the true collective identity of Dinosaur began to emerge, together with a greater appreciation of the sonic detail within the music. This is an album worth working at and sticking with, although I wouldn’t go quite as far as John Fordham’s five star review for The Guardian. 

Dinosaur have a number of live dates scheduled as below;

Dinosaur

23rd Oct - Frome Festival
27th Oct - Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
28th Oct - RWCMD, Cardiff
3rd Nov 16 - Kings Place, London
10th Nov 16 - The Soundcellar, Poole
11th Nov 16 - NCEM, York
13th Nov 16 - Seven Arts Leeds
18th Nov 16 - St Bartholomew the Great Church, London
18th Nov 16 - The Verdict Brighton
22nd Nov 16 - St. Ives, Cornwall
26th Nov 16 - Clare College Basement, Cambridge Jazz Fest
14th Jan 17 - Turner Sims, Southampton
19th Jan 17 - Band on the Wall, Manchester
26th January - Bonnington Theatre, Nottingham
30th Jan 17 - Jazz in the Round, London

Laura Jurd as soloist

19th Nov 16 - BBC Concert Orchestra with Laura Jurd and Dinosaur + Daniel Herskedal (commission from Laura and Daniel)

http://www.laurajurd.com

http://www.editionrecords.com

 

 

 

Together, As One

Dinosaur

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Album Review

4 out of 5

Together, As One

Taking their cue from “Bitches Brew” era Miles Davis the quartet place their own stamp on the sonic terrain pioneered by Davis with a set of eight original Laura Jurd compositions.

Dinosaur

“Together, As One”

(Edition Records EDN 1078)

The twenty six year old trumpeter, keyboard player and composer Laura Jurd has attracted a compelling amount of critical praise since exploding into the British jazz consciousness in 2013 with the release of her astonishingly mature début album “Landing Ground” with its stunning mix of jazz and classical elements and influences.

A graduate of London’s Trinity Laban College of Music the Hampshire born Jurd has continued to traverse musical boundaries. 2014’s sprawling and ambitious “Human Spirit” introduced a folk element and was a semi-conceptual song cycle featuring the extraordinary vocals of the Irish born singer Lauren Kinsella.

Jurd and Kinsella united again as the female half of the quartet Blue-Eyed Hawk which fused elements of jazz, literature and indie rock together on 2014’s superb “Under the Moon” album. The band also featured guitarist Alex Roth and drummer Corrie Dick.

Dick, pianist Elliot Galvin and bassist Conor Chaplin have formed the core of Jurd’s working band from the beginning, first as the Laura Jurd Quartet and more recently as Dinosaur. All are members of the Chaos Collective, an aggregation of former Trinity students forged in the wake of the influential F-ire and Loop Collectives. Under Jurd’s direction the large ensemble Chaos Orchestra recorded the album “Island Mentality” which was released on the Collective’s own label in 2013.

The versatile Jurd has also appeared in a variety of other contexts ranging from the free to the straightahead (the latter alongside veteran saxophonist Art Themen) and she and Dick recently appeared on Phronesis’ bassist Jasper Hoiby’s début solo album “Fellow Creatures”. Jurd has also featured in bands led by saxophonist Phil Meadows, bassist Huw V Williams and in Wildflower Sextet, the Wayne Shorter inspired group led by saxophonist Matt Anderson.

As a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist she is currently working on a large scale composition that will feature Dinosaur alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra and will be premièred at the 2016 EFG London Jazz Festival.

The change of name to Dinosaur was prompted by the kind of music Jurd and her group are now playing with the focus being placed increasingly on electric instruments. Taking their cue from “Bitches Brew” era Miles Davis the quartet place their own stamp on the sonic terrain pioneered by Davis with a set of eight original Jurd compositions.

The instrumentation on “Together, As One” includes Jurd on both trumpet and synthesiser, Galvin doubling on Fender Rhodes and Hammond and Chaplin, once of WorldService Project, specialising on electric bass.  Jurd plays the trumpet acoustically and it’s fascinating to listen to the way in which she blends it with the electric instruments.

Galvin and Dick are both bandleaders themselves, the keyboard player with his splendidly eclectic and eccentric piano trio and Dick with his Impossible Things ensemble with its jazz, folk, literary and world music influences. Jurd has stated that as composers they feed off one another’s ideas and there’s certainly evidence of this on “Together, As One” although the overwhelming influence remains that of Miles Davis.

The album begins with the eight and a half minute “Awakening” which emerges slowly from an imaginary forest with Jurd’s trumpet sketching snippets of melody around Chaplin’s metronomic electric bass pulse and Dick’s loose limbed drums and percussion. Galvin focusses on Fender Rhodes and the overall effect is very atmospheric and very Miles-ian, albeit with a decidedly contemporary edge. The latter stages of the piece evolve into something of a feature for Dick whose colourful and imaginative drumming is a particularly distinctive feature of the album as a whole. At times he almost seems to lead with his drums and on occasion even seems to serve as a melodic counterpoint to Jurd. In deed Jurd has been quoted as saying; “I feel like the trumpet and the drums in this band are one organism”. Dick has made what he describes as ‘rhythmic pilgrimages’ to West Africa and aspects of this come out in his playing.

“Robin” is an altogether brighter affair with its jaunty, faux naive folk melodies and buoyant grooves. Jurd doubles on synth and trumpet as a series of highly melodic themes intertwine. Although each individual member makes an indispensable contribution and despite Jurd’s trumpet being at the heart of the music as here Dinosaur don’t really do jazz solos in the orthodox manner, the ensemble sound and the interaction between the musicians is paramount – ‘Together, As One’ indeed.

Besides the obvious influence of Davis the music also draws on Steve Reich and the minimalists. An insistent keyboard motif underpins the lively “Living, Breathing” with its alternately bright and brooding trumpet, fluid bass grooves and crisp, inventive drumming. On occasion the four musicians coalesce with some stunning, brilliantly executed ensemble riffing. The overall effect of the piece is both impressive and invigorating.

“Together, As One” has an almost semi-conceptual feel with two shorter pieces “Under Dog” and “Slowly Sinking” bisecting the lengthier compositions that effectively form the first and second halves of the album.

The loosely structured “Underdog” has something of the feel of a jam band workout with Galvin’s array of keyboards taking the lead as Jurd’s trumpet lines snake in and out. As so often Chaplin’s elastic bass grooves form the bedrock while the brilliant Dick is given licence to roam on the kit to excellent effect.

“Steadily Sinking” is shorter and more atmospheric with Galvin’s keyboards again the dominant component as he mixes acoustic piano and church organ sounds with drummer Dick again proving to be the perfect foil.

The tune titles also suggest a kind of semi-concept in keeping with the group’s name. The nine minute “Extinct” is a prime example, a slow burning epic with Galvin’s organ drones and grooves underpinning Jurd’s pensive trumpet ruminations. There’s also some exciting and increasingly instrumental interplay between the pair as the music gathers momentum and Chaplin and Dick take full control of the rhythmic responsibilities.   

“Primordial” features some dirty Rhodes and Hammond driven funk with Jurd’s incisive trumpet clearing a path through the dense rhythmic undergrowth. Galvin’s mercurial keyboard work also impresses with Nick Hasted in his review for Jazzwise magazine drawing a comparison with that of Van Der Graaf Generator’s Hugh Banton. The VDGG comparison is particularly apt as in Corrie Dick Dinosaur have a brilliant and highly individual drummer, surely a contemporary counterpart to the great Guy Evans.

Rather incongruously the album ends with the atmospheric and elegiac “Interlude” with its Miles and minimalism influences, but still subtly hinting at Dinosaur’s latent live power.

I was fortunate enough to witness the group perform live at the Spotted Dog in Birmingham earlier in the year. As this was a pub gig with a collection I wasn’t reviewing and therefore didn’t take notes but I’m fairly certain that much of this music must have been played then. It certainly worked very well in that setting and I’m now hoping to witness, and cover, Dinosaur’s performance with the BBC Concert Orchestra at LJF in November.

I do though have to admit that when I first heard “Together, As One” I was initially a little underwhelmed. The Miles influence seemed to be too pronounced, too obvious, and for me it was only on subsequent, more diligent, listens that the true collective identity of Dinosaur began to emerge, together with a greater appreciation of the sonic detail within the music. This is an album worth working at and sticking with, although I wouldn’t go quite as far as John Fordham’s five star review for The Guardian. 

Dinosaur have a number of live dates scheduled as below;

Dinosaur

23rd Oct - Frome Festival
27th Oct - Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
28th Oct - RWCMD, Cardiff
3rd Nov 16 - Kings Place, London
10th Nov 16 - The Soundcellar, Poole
11th Nov 16 - NCEM, York
13th Nov 16 - Seven Arts Leeds
18th Nov 16 - St Bartholomew the Great Church, London
18th Nov 16 - The Verdict Brighton
22nd Nov 16 - St. Ives, Cornwall
26th Nov 16 - Clare College Basement, Cambridge Jazz Fest
14th Jan 17 - Turner Sims, Southampton
19th Jan 17 - Band on the Wall, Manchester
26th January - Bonnington Theatre, Nottingham
30th Jan 17 - Jazz in the Round, London

Laura Jurd as soloist

19th Nov 16 - BBC Concert Orchestra with Laura Jurd and Dinosaur + Daniel Herskedal (commission from Laura and Daniel)

http://www.laurajurd.com

http://www.editionrecords.com

 

 

 


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