thu 04/06/2020

Album: Dinosaur - To the Earth | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Dinosaur - To the Earth

Album: Dinosaur - To the Earth

Mercury nominees inquisitively explore acoustic jazz roots

Dinosaur’s Mercury-nominated debut was a jolt of 1970s Miles and James Brown electricity.

Dinosaur’s Mercury-nominated debut was a jolt of 1970s Miles and James Brown electricity. This third album steps back into the familiar comforts of acoustic jazz, with a cool inquisitiveness combining trumpeter-leader Laura Jurd’s rural Hampshire roots, conservatoire-schooled compositional rigour, and a sometimes New Orleans rasp that reaches right back to Louis Armstrong.

“Slow Loris” is Sisyphean blues, climbing ever upwards as Elliot Galvin’s piano sprawls cat-like across pulsing bass, ending in shadowy 1920s clubland, then Crescent City funeral brass. The title track’s ice-pick piano and Corrie Dick's spare, rattling avant-percussion on “Mosking” declare Dinosaur’s love for the obliquely charming Norwegian trio Moskus, even as “Absinthe” toys with poisoned boulevardier pipe-dreams, Jurd’s trumpet muted like Miles meeting Juliette Greco, but daubed with sci-fi synths.

The past is just a palette of colours, deployed through Jurd’s English lens instead of sinking into straightahead nostalgia. These are jazz roots as remembered from beloved London student days rather than engrained heritage, a happy, summery cocktail to be enjoyed, while never abandoning intellect. Jurd’s long-term bandmates are all notable jazz thinkers, too, with Galvin especially gnomic and thematically voracious. When “Banning Street Blues” transmutes Sonny Rollins-style Caribbean flavours through its title’s South London geography, it suits this home-cooked, deliberate stew.

The hobbled tumble and choppy tension of “Held By Water” briefly visits the grime-streaked modern London streets walked by Dinosaur’s lauded young British jazz peers. They instead end with the elegiac melancholy of “For One”, while staying resolutely true to Jurd’s brightly open character.

The past is just a palette of colours, deployed through Jurd’s English lens

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters