Laura Jurd is a London-based, award-winning trumpet player, composer and band-leader, who impressed greatly in the Miles Davis role as the special guest of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in their epic performance of Sketches Of Spain in Edinburgh earlier this year. It was therefore a real treat to catch the Laura Jurd Trio when they played in Glasgow’s cool and atmospheric Blue Arrow Jazz Club on 15th November as part of a UK tour to promote their new EP of covers, called simply Trio.
Laura Jurd was joined by Ruth Goller on bass guitar and Corrie Dick on drums and they kicked off their set with a rocking, bluesy take on Bill Withers’ Grandma’s Hands, featuring thudding bass lines, powerhouse drums and a series of breath-taking trumpet solos. The Beatles classic, I Will, was given a playful and heart-warming treatment, with Jurd using a mute to produce a gorgeous wah-wah effect and all three musicians contributing beautifully-constructed solos.
Jurd’s arrangement of the dignified and moving African American spiritual, Steal Away, was an altogether more reflective and experimental piece, with some gloriously ambient and hypnotic passages of music between snatches of the haunting melody. The trio really let rip with a joyously exuberant romp through When You’re Smiling (made famous by Louis Armstrong), with the rhythm section laying down some irresistible grooves to underpin Laura Jurd’s masterclass in trumpet improvisation and soloing.
Laura Jurd is a truly exceptional trumpet player, with superb technique, a natural ‘feel’ for the music and playing full of imagination, soul and warmth. Her use of conventional trumpet mutes and even a disposable cup or a sheet of paper to produce various effects and distort or sustain the notes was fascinating to behold.
The four EP tunes described above were interspersed with a few of Laura Jurd’s original compositions and some other covers, including delicious takes on music by Duke Ellington and Bill Frisell and a particularly elegant piece with an Elizabethan feel. In the course of two hugely enjoyable sets, the Laura Jurd Trio blew us away with the tightness, freedom and endless invention of their playing.
The Trio EP is available to download now here