Laura Jurd – Human Spirit (2015)

Artist: Laura Jurd
Title: Human Spirit
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Metropolitan Records
Genre: Jazz: Vocals, Trumpet
Quality: 320 kbps
Total Time: 46:21
Total Size: 110 MB
WebSite: Album Preview

01. Opening Sequence Verificar (2:03)
02. She Knew Him (5:38)
03. Brighter Days (6:25)
04. Prelude (1:51)
05. Pirates (3:56)
06. Blinded (5:33)
07. Human Spirit (6:41)
08. More Than Just A Fairytale (8:33)
09. Closing Sequence (5:38)
From the opening minute or so all the elements are in place: the metallic electric guitar of Alex Roth, the punchy drums of Corrie Dick, the highly expressive, ever so slightly smeared trumpet tone of Laura Jurd, and the rich, gruff brass choir of Chris Batchelor on trumpet, Colm O’Hara on trombone and Mick Foster on bass saxophone, with vocalist Lauren Kinsella placing her words precisely along the melody line and mixed in with the brass.
There is a lot packed into the one minute 49 seconds of the Opening Sequence, and that, too, is preparation for what is to come: as a composer Laura Jurd doesn’t rest on just one melody and a few chords, she seems to treat a song as a suite.
Take She Knew Him, there is perky opening riff for voice, trumpet and drums, which then slows into a brass chorale of sorts, the perkiness morphed into sobriety, before the opening riff returns in enriched form and we get the leader’s first real trumpet solo, all rising lines and dirty-toned, bent notes, before the whole thing turns into stadium rock with Roth adding the extra grunt. What sounds like a final chord from Roth turns into an extended ending with a bass saxophone solo over it, which then turns out not to be the end at all – we’re back to the perky opening melody.
Brighter Days contains some gorgeous jazz-folk brass writing and a great nonsense-scat intro from Kinsella (at least I’m assuming it’s nonsense – it could be Gaelic!); Pirates has a rumbustious ska beat and loads of intersecting melody lines which stretch into simultaneous solos; Blinded has more of Jurd’s instinctive writing, with the horns patterns dancing around Kinsella’s vocal storyline.
The Title track has a bright brass declamatory opening, then sets Kinsella’s vocal line over a lumpy rhythm which then broadens into a rich, rock section before breaking up again into overlapping riffs and lots of space. Roth has great fun punching out the power chords on the richer chorus sections before adding spiky comments to a juddering Batchelor solo, and some more of Kinsella’s admirable nonsense-scat. It all ends in a kind of Zappa-meets brass band chaos.
More Than Just A Fairytale has a distinctly Arthurian legendary feel to its brass section parts, albeit set over funky rhythm groove. An example of the range of Laura Jurd’s writing – she can do most things, I reckon.
And so this album goes on, packing an awful lot into a tight 46 minutes. It’s another substantial addition to modern British jazz from one of the most interesting composers and band leaders currently working here. ~Peter Bacon
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