You’d be hard pushed to find a more eccentric or imaginative live music event than the Jazz Nursery, a monthly platform for young talent once held under a draughty Southwark railway arch but now stowed away on the lower deck of the Golden Hinde II, a replica of the vessel in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the world in the late 16th century, moored on London’s Southbank.
As if in homage to the pioneering spirit of the galleon, this month’s Nursery event featured sets from two groups of sonic adventurers. Trumpeter Miguel Gorodi and drummer David Ingamells got things underway with an engrossing and unpredictable account of Dave Holland’s ‘Four Winds’, blurred by freewheeling lines and textural drum work, following it up with tunes by Thelonious Monk and trad jazz great Kid Ory. Most arresting of all was their treatment of the Hoagy Carmichael classic ‘Stardust’. After the rawness and strut of Ornette Coleman’s ‘When Will the Blues Leave?’, its lonesome melody was shocking in its tenderness and simplicity.
Amongst the varnished woodwork, the lanterns and the slumbering black cannons, rising star vocalist Lauren Kinsella and her trio, comprising former Loose Tubes trumpeter Chris Batchelor and keys player Liam Noble, pushed the boundaries still further. Their wholly improvised second half was one of shifting textures and bold new colours. Kinsella juxtaposed giggles and trills with tongue clicks and nonsensical strings of syllables that blurred and overlapped with the bullfrog croaks and trippy electronics at Noble’s fingertips. Switching between trumpet and cornet and experimenting with a range of different mutes, Batchelor offered rasps, squeals and moments of serene lyricism, once dropping out and rejoining the action in unison with a rising vocal line which he seemed to pick up out of nowhere.
The trio’s approach proved too much for some and there were audible snorts of laughter from a particularly mutinous group on the gun deck. But, they didn’t last long. By the end all but a handful were swept along by the creative intensity of the music, willing participants in a voyage of discovery that carried them into uncharted waters.
– Thomas Rees