REVIEW : Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur at the Hare & Hounds, Birmingham (first night of tour)

Dinosaur at the Hare & Hounds. L-R: Elliot Galvin, Conor Chaplin,
Corrie Dick, Laura Jurd

Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur
(Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham, 18th January 2017. Review by Peter Bacon)

Change happens fast when you’re young. I couldn’t help thinking back to the last time I heard these four musicians – pianist Elliot Galvin, bassist Conor Chaplin, drummer Corrie Dick and trumpeter Laura Jurd – in Birmingham. It was June 2013 at The Red Lion and then they were called the Laura Jurd Quartet.

Then all acoustic, aside from the bass; now highly electric apart from the drums. Then, exploring folk-tinged themes; now incorporating lots of abstract buzzes and tweaks, club grooves, dub and funk, with the timbral pairing of trumpet against an electric piano wash inevitably conjuring a faint Milesian spectre to swirl about the room.

Just as on the band’s recent much acclaimed CD (Together, As One (Edition) – reviewed here on LondonJazz and here on thejazzbreakfast) the gig opened with Awakening and Robin, followed by Living, Breathing.

Already the arrangements on the recording were beginning to loosen and lengthen as the quartet explored their live malleability. There was even more stretching in the second half with Extinct, for me a highlight on the CD, even more pleasurable in stretched-out form. Things ended just as the album does with the evocative, open-ended Interlude. Stretching can mean over-extending, and Galvin’s solo on Primordial did lose my concentration towards the end. By contrast I could have heard more from Jurd, her role in this band seeming to be more in the electric Miles mode of adding trumpet comments and shorter phrases rather than extended solos.

But, in fact, what this music – and this band – is about is cohesive group work – the philosophy of African music, if you like, where the overall achievement is greater than the sum of parts – and there was a moment when Galvin and Jurd on keyboards, intertwined with bass and drums, felt very much like a marimba band transformed by a club-electronic mix.

An excellent gig which did leave me with one question: why isn’t there more dancing at jazz gigs? The groove that Dinosaur built surely had the spirit of Terpsichore swirling up there in the company of Mr Davis.

This Birmingham gig was the first night of a substantial album tour. Dates HERE

Categories: miscellaneous

1 reply »

  1. I'm looking forward to seeing Dinosaur in Glasgow in a couple of weeks – I saw them last year just before they recorded the album.

    About dancing – it depends on the venue and the vibe! And the amount of alcohol consumed…!

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