Birmingham Jazz has backed a winner this week and tempted young trumpeter Laura Jurd and her band up from London. I think this could be her first gig in the West Midlands since her debut album, Landing Ground, made considerable waves in the jazz critics’ sea.
Landing Ground revealed a composer and player who not only has considerable ambitions – it includes a string quartet as well as a jazz group, and some complex extended fully-scored writing – but a characterful and original sound on her instrument, which incorporates everything from a full open tone to smears and high, choked notes in the Kenny Wheeler tradition.
In Landing Ground she goes from Latin-tinged group arrangements to piano and trumpet duo improvisations, to mad circus band antics, and on to writing that is as influenced by contemporary classical composition as it is by jazz, all in the course of an hour of recorded music.
As I wrote, when reviewing the album last December, it would be an impressive achievement as a fourth or fifth release from someone on their mid-30s; that it was the debut of a 22-year-old who was still studying at Trinity College was astounding.
Laura has various bands in which she can explore her ideas from duo to orchestra to collective.
For the Birmingham Jazz date she brings her long-standing quartet – they have supported Chris Potter at Ronnie Scott’s in London – comprising Elliot Galvin on piano, Conor Chaplin on bass and Corrie Dick on drums.
The Laura Jurd Quartet plays The Red Lion in Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, from 7.45pm tomorrow (Friday) evening. Tickets are £10 (£8 for members) on the door, and you can find out more at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk
Another driving force in jazz around London is singer Georgia Mancio, and Midlanders get a rare chance to hear her in collaboration with guitarist Nigel Price at Huntingdon Hall on Saturday evening, courtesy of Worcester Jazz.
Georgia also performs in a wide variety of bands but the inspiration for this duo came from that of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass. The blend of voice and electric guitar is a highly efficient, no strings attached way of making good vocal jazz music.
The pre-publicity suggests Mancio’s Italian/Uruguayan fire and Price’s bluesy feel will be a heady mix, and who is to deny that.
Georgia Mancio and Nigel Price are at Huntingdon Hall at 8pm on Saturday. Tickets are £12.50 and you can book at www.worcesterlive.co.uk
Tomorrow’s Jazzlines Free Jazz session in the Symphony Hall Cafe Bar joins forces with Celebrating Sanctuary and Refugee Week to present the African jazz of Afro Mio, a quartet of musicians from the Congo and Angola. Expect rich harmonies in five languages, sunny looping guitar melodies, a strong percussive groove – and loud shirts!
Afro Mio play from 5pm and entry is free. More at www.thsh.co.uk
And for a quick jump from central Africa to Sardinia, head for The Ort Cafe where double bassist Sebastiano Dessanay and guitarist Gianluca Corona explore their heritage with a little help from drummer Tymoteusz Jozwiak (no, he’s not Sardinian!).
Sardinian Songbook is at 9pm tomorrow. Entry is £5 (£3) and there is more at www.blambirmingham.co.uk