Jan 29 2020
Best of 2019 #24: Madwort’s Menagerie – “Madwort’s Menagerie”
Crossed lines at a big band rehearsal, compositions for saxophone quartet, and the mercurial prerogatives of a free improv duo are the components that brought a curious unity to the self-titled debut of Madwort’s Menagerie. Tom Ward’s sextet with cornetist Alex Bonney, double bassist Tim Fairhall, flutist Julie Kjær, baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts, cellist Adam Spiers added to Ward’s own bass clarinet are responsible for a curious beauty, where melodies have the ephemeral quality of dreams and harmonies like their lingering aftereffect upon waking, slowly and greeted by soft daylight, and the motion of the music is fitful and anxious, as if children unable to sit still in church pews during a morning service.
Your album personnel: Alex Bonney (cornet), Tim Fairhall (double bass), Julie Kjær (flutes), Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Adam Spiers (cello), and Tom Ward (bass clarinet).
Released on Madwort Records.
Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Music from London, England.
Available at: Bandcamp
Feb 12 2020
Best of 2019 #11: Laura Jurd – “Stepping Back, Jumping In”
When I originally wrote about Stepping Back, Jumping In for The Bandcamp Daily, I talked about how Laura Jurd has hopscotched around the modern jazz landscape, from the chamber jazz of her debut Landing Ground, to the intoxicating mix of brass harmonies and indie-rock tunefulness on Human Spirit, and the electronic fusion she explores with her ensemble, Dinosaur. On Stepping Back, Jumping In, it’s as if Jurd has taken a survey of all she’s done before, and created a cohesive landscape from its components. The end result is something entirely different, completely new, and arguably her most fascinating work to date.
I become more impressed with this recording the more I listen to it. It also reveals more sources of enjoyment. It’s a recording that rewards a listening state of full engagement, with its tiny surprises and masterful subtleties just waiting to be discovered. But there are times I just let it all go, immersing myself in daydreams or kicking back with a new book, and even in my state as a detached listener, the music sweeps me off to a new place. It’s presence is that strong. It’s sway is even stronger.
It’s been a treat hearing Jurd’s development over the years, and after this retrospective statement, the curiosity for what comes next is already burning strong.
Your album personnel: Laura Jurd (trumpet), Raphael Clarkson (trombone), Alex Paxton (trombone), Martin Lee Thomson (euphonium), Soosan Lolavar (santoor), Rob Luft (banjo, guitars), Elliot Galvin (piano), Anja Lauvdal (synth, electronics), Conor Chaplin (double bass), Liz Exell (drum kit), Corrie Dick (drum kit), and The Ligeti Quartet of Mandhira de Saram (violin), Patrick Dawkins (violin), Richard Jones (viola), and Cecilia Bignall (cello).
Released on Edition Records.
Music from London, UK.
I wrote about the album for The Bandcamp Daily.
Listen | Read more | Available at: Bandcamp – Amazon
By davesumner • Recap: Best of 2019 • 1 • Tags: Best Jazz of 2019, Edition Records, Laura Jurd, London