JohnTurville5tet anyaarnold 4

This is the last show in the tour and there’s an end-of-term vibe on the Verdict’s crowded stage as our genial host Roxanne introduces the band to the packed house. “I’ve been having a lot of fun” says John Turville (pictured), adding wryly, “and I think the band have too”. The band, sporting the kind of scruffily relaxed semi-formal look typical of Higher Education academics (which several of them are during daylight hours), seem to concur; then it’s straight into the first number, 'Fall Out', drawn from Turville’s recent album, Head First. The complex head is negotiated with ease and a close eye on the chart, then Julian Argüelles surges ahead on tenor, with a torrent of ideas, followed by Robbie Robson’s powerfully precise trumpet, and the leader’s light-touch, effortlessly inventive piano flowing into a cunningly executed coda. The two horns complement each other each with their full, rounded tone, accurate articulation and endlessly fertile, oblique melodicism.

Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor are guiding lights here, and the band are perfectly suited to a spirited interpretation of the former’s '4-5-6', all the soloists coaxing a flow of lyrical ideas from the advanced harmonic base. Argüelles enjoyed a long association with Taylor, and 'Ennerdale', written by Turville in tribute, sees him rising off Dave Whitford’s big-toned, carefully constructed solo statement to raise the temperature with some inspired improvisation; his own 'A Month In Tunisia' has an airily precise latin lilt – a natural fit for Turville, who deploys a similar feel in his own 'Head First' - that leads into a super exciting drum solo from the prodigious James Maddren.

For all the band’s unassuming demeanour, these are outsize talents in this packed, intimate room. The second set starts with 'Almagro Nights' rearranged from trio format so that the full band fly over the complex, supple riffing. Then there’s a sax/piano duet, with Argüelle’s melting tone on soprano, never harsh or shrill even in the highest register, building up in telepathic correspondence with Turville’s arpeggios and swelling into a perfect torrent of notes, until the wave seems to break and the band come in with the rippling, dancing figures of 'Perfect Foil'. This is music-making of the very highest order, and it’s a rare treat to witness it so close at hand. To follow, Turville puts the band through their paces with a knotty re-working of Coltrane’s already challenging '26-2', with generous additions of metric modulation leading to a joyous group free-improv – then there’s a Bill Evans ballad, 'Laurie', dedicated to Turville’s partner, and an artful arrangement of Michel Pettruciani’s 'Beautiful But Why?' that provides a welcome dose of straightahead swing.

“This is my dream band,” says Turville in conclusion, and it’s impossible to disagree – there’s such a perfect match between their expansive abilities and the leader’s vision, and it feels as though there’s no limit to the amount of music they can make together. We are treated to an encore of 'Francisca' by Toninho Horta; Argüelles wedges bits of paper into his horn as an impromptu repair, everyone soars in solo, and then we’re left to return to whatever mundanity awaits us, carrying the memory of this exceptional two hours of artistic creation.

Eddie Myer
– Photo by Anya Arnold 

Durrant

Phil Durrant and Martin Vishnick (pictured) launch, Rifinitori di Momenti, their forthcoming album of improvised mandolin-and-guitar duets on Confront Recordings with a performance at Camden’s Green Note on 23 May.

Look out, too, for Sowari Modular, Durrant’s forthcoming synth-based suite, issued soon via Richard Sanderson's Linear Obsessional label.

Spencer Grady

For more details visit www.linearobsessional.org

The wider jazz programme for this year’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs from 5 to 7 July at Glynde Place, East Sussex, has been announced and includes a strong selection of UK and US artists. Leading the pack from these shores are hard-driving piano trio GoGo Penguin, while there are equally danceable sounds from spiritual jazzers Maisha, flautist Tenderlonius, grime-jazz tuba titan Theon Cross, the groove-heavy Steam Down Collective and fast-rising SEED Ensemble. Brit-jazz vibist Orphy Robinson is also confirmed and will bring his acclaimed take on Van Morrison’s seminal Astral Weeks album to Glynde.

From the US come fiery New Orleans five-piece Tank and the Bangas, Grammy-nominated pianist Christian Sands, and cutting-edge Chicagoan drummer and producer Makaya McCraven, while trumpeter Marquis Hill’s Blacktet (pictured top left) will also perform. Experimental jazz sounds come via the Jazz in the Round stage, alongside further performances on the Bands & Voices cabaret and spoken word stage. These names join those already announced in Jazzwise (who are festival media partners) and include Jamie Cullum, Snarky Puppy, Chick Corea, Ms Lauryn Hill, Louie Vega and the Elements of Life and Kamaal Williams.

Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.lovesupremefestival.com

 BranfordMarsalisQrt MG 3430

Bookended by a short opening solo piano set from Nikki Yeoh and an encore where the band was joined by UK pianist Julian Joseph, this concert was, as John Cumming from Serious suggested in his opening remarks, a chance to hear what is possibly the leading acoustic jazz quartet in the world today. From the aggressive angularity of the opening ‘Dance of the Evil Toys’ to an excursion into the tradition for a ravishing version of Jimmy McHugh’s ‘Sunny Side of the Street’, and from the moments of freedom in Branford Marsalis’s own ‘Life Filtering from the Water Flowers’ to the sensuous new ballad ‘Cianna’ by pianist Joey Calderazzo, the breadth and depth of the band’s playing bore out the claim.

Whether on tenor or soprano, Marsalis has the knack of making a melodic ballad improvisation sound like a considered part of the composed song, yet he can also launch into ferocious displays of technical mastery, a latterday ‘sheets of sound’ combined with the precise placement of every note. This was especially apparent where the rhythm section dropped back, or when Calderazzo took a breather, and left bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner to pace the saxophonist.

Calderazzo played at a dazzlingly high level, nowhere better than on Andrew Hill’s ‘Snakehips Waltz’ where the stops and punctuations of the jagged theme gave way to a hard-swinging solo. But the band held the best back till last. Keith Jarrett’s ‘The Wind-up’ had the audience on the edge of its seats, the joyous theme thrown in the air and caught – often unexpectedly – by the next soloist, and a long solo passage for Faulkner of trance-like intensity. We had great fun, but not it seems, as much as the band – if the grins, glances and comments passing between them were anything to go by.

Alyn Shipton
– Photo by Roger Thomas

Grammy-winning powerhouse group Snarky Puppy are gearing up for a world tour in support of their high-energy new album Immigrance, which is released on 15 March on the Ground Up label. Kicking off their live shows in Japan in April, the band the band will make their debut at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall on 14 November as part of their run of autumn dates in the UK. Ahead of this the band also headline Love Supreme Jazz Festival on 6 July at Glynde Place, East Sussex.

The new album’s 11 songs return to the hard-driving grooves of earlier records such as Tell Your Friends and We Like It Here, and explore a wide range of sounds and influences. Commenting on the tour, bassist and bandleader Michael League said: “The band is so excited about bringing the songs to the UK on our upcoming tour. Of course we'll be mixing them in with material from previous albums (including some very old songs we haven't played in years), but it will be really special sharing the new ones with the audience who first welcomed us to Europe in 2012.”

UK dates are: O2 Academy, Bournemouth (6 Nov); Rock City, Nottingham (7 Nov); O2 Academy, Bristol (8 Nov); O2 Academy, Oxford (9 Nov); Royal Albert Hall, London (14 Nov); O2 Apollo, Manchester (15 Nov); Barrowlands, Glasgow (16 Nov) and Ulster Hall, Belfast (11 Nov).

For more info visit www.snarkypuppy.com

Mike Flynn

Watch the new video for the single ‘Bad Kids at the Back’ here:

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