An impressive debut CD from trumpeter/composer Laura Jurd. Conceived as a unified whole, the album with its six pieces and three improvised dialogues reveals a young composer of character and immense promise.
The album deals with themes of departure and return. With both a jazz and a string quartet (the Ligeti Quartet), the music is at the increasingly traversed borders of contemporary classical music and jazz. From Kind of Blue era Miles Davis, to echoes of Messiaen, Alban Berg and Shostakovich, a distinctive individual and appealing voice emerges.
Three free-improvised dialogues where Laura Jurd responds in real time to the imaginative narratives of pianist (Elliot Galvin) cellist (Ben Davis) and drummer (Corrie Dick) provide the ideal counterweight to the six structured and planned compositions. Nine carefully programmed tracks, which, through thematic and musical connections, build to a satisfying whole.
Personnel: Laura Jurd (trumpet), Elliot Galvin (piano), Ben Davis (cello), Corrie Dick (drums), Ligeti Quartet
Polar Bear's Mark Lockheart, in the liner notes for British student trumpeter/composer Laura Jurd's Landing Ground, calls it "a stunning debut by anyone's standards, but coming from a 21-year-old musician it's quite miraculous". Lockheart's no pushover, and he isn't exaggerating Jurd stands out even from the UK jazz conservatoires' well-schooled and adventurous current crop. Landing Ground, which combines her jazz group and the Ligeti String Quartet, has a markedly through-composed and contemporary-classical feel but the leader on trumpet, her fellow Trinity College student Elliott Galvin on piano (the inspirational Liam Noble is his teacher) and cellist Ben Davis all supply succinct and original improvisation. Moreover, Jurd's striking themes suggest English, Spanish and Scottish folk melodies, and (on the beautiful Happy Sad Song) something of the wry lyricism of Kenny Wheeler. The evocative Flight Music joins melodic and rhythmic ideas without losing its sense of tranquillity, Tales of the Old Country has a simmering, Nino Rota-like lilt, and Jurd's huge promise as a trumpet improviser is showcased in a series of short duets long-toned and graceful with the cello, free-jazzy with the piano, vivaciously dancing with the drums. FOUR STARS --The Guardian
Her trumpet playing already has a quirky yet penetrating signature of her own. Listening to Laura Jurd maturing becomes a fascinating prospect. FOUR STARS --Jazzwise