Music / Reviews

Live review: Laura Jurd/Kevin Figes Trio

By tony benjamin, Saturday Jan 17, 2015

Friday January 16, Colston Hall Foyer



Sometimes when things go wrong they still turn out right. Uber-busy jazz musician Laura Jurd had originally been expected in The Lantern for Thursday but a last minute diary clash meant the gig was moved to the Foyer for Friday, thus creating a double bill with Kevin Figes Trio. For those who made both sets it made for a fortuitous treat of contrastingly stylish music. Saxophonist Kevin came with Pasquale Votino on double bass and Paolo Adamo on drums, a new trio that wisely stuck to standards while bravely leaving the arrangements wide open. From the cool reading of Night and Day that opened proceedings you could hear the players checking each other out, feeding ideas into the flow of things. A fractured reading of All The Things You Are and a powerfully emotive Body and Soul both gave a sign of how inventively this threesome could develop. There was invention aplenty once Laura Jurd took to the stage with the full seven-piece band that recorded her imminent album Human Spirit (albeit with drummer Simon Roth ably depping for Corrie Dick). Ms Jurd’s prowess on the trumpet would be reason enough to rave about what happened but that was just one facet of the remarkable music she has composed, with the excellent Lauren Kinsella giving voice to her words throughout. These were remarkable pieces, complex structures and textures led by the narrative of the lyrics in a way that recalled Kate and Mike Westbrook’s treatment of Blake or Carla Bley’s Escalator Over The Hill. It was exciting music that defied the ‘jazz’ label (guitarist Alex Roth’s power riffs wilfully evoked King Crimson just as Mick Foster’s jaunty bass saxophone swept open cabaret curtains) yet revelled in the ideas of jazz and the technical joy of solo playing. Lauren Kinsella’s impro-scat vocalising was an especial treat, not least when synched into Jurd’s fluent and surprising trumpet but it was the rich ensemble playing that thrilled throughout thanks to the trumpeter’s smart and witty composition. It was a delight to hear live and even more pleasurable to take the CD home and enjoy it again. (Tony Benjamin)

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