Laura Jurd – Landing Ground ★★★★

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Chaos Collective CC001
Laura Jurd (t), Elliot Galvin (p), Conor Chaplin (b), Corrie Dick (perc), Mandhira De Saram (vln), Patrick Dawkins (vln), Richard Jones (vla), and Ben Davis (clo). Rec. May 2012

She’s only just entered her final year at Trinity College of Music, but the composer-trumpeter Laura Jurd is already creating quite a little buzz on the live scene in London. Besides hosting a monthly night at the Spice of Life in Soho with her Chaos Collective, she’s also received recognition as a composer, winning the Dankworth Award in 2010. As well her quartet picked up the Worshipful Company of Musicians Award a few months ago. It’s easy to see why, listening to her new debut release Landing Ground. She pitches up somewhere between composition drawing from neo-classical chamber and minimalism with added folky elements and a contemporary post-Miles avant-jazz. It’s already a fluid thing in her hands.

 Her originals have a generously lyrical quality and are executed beautifully by Ligeti Quartet minus one – replaced by the F-IRE collective’s go-to jazz-scene cellist Ben Davis – and her regular close-knit quartet, especially fellow Trinity cohort Elliot Galvin on piano. To her credit she doesn’t allow the structural clarity of her compositions to put the shackles on the improvisational elements of her work. There’s nothing heavy about the brief free improv duets (sandwiched between the extended ensemble writing) that demonstrate a passion for sonic experimentation and abstraction. Influenced by the superb American new breed avant-garde trumpeter Peter Evans and the Norwegian Arve Henriksen, as well as Dave Douglas, her trumpet playing already has a quirky yet penetrating signature of her own. Listening to Laura Jurd maturing becomes a fascinating prospect.

– Selwyn Harris