Credits and About
Laura Jurd Trumpet
Elliot Galvin Piano
Anja Lauvdal synth / electronics
Conor Chaplin Double Bass
Liz Exell Drums
Corrie Dick Drums
Raphael Clarkson Trombone
Alex Paxton Trombone
Martin Lee Thomson Euphonium
Soosan Lolavar Santoor
Rob Luft Banjo / guitars
Mandhira de Saram Violin
Patrick Dawkins Violin
Richard Jones Viola
Cecilia Bignall Cello
Recorded by Sonny Johns at The Sage Gateshead, 4th & 5th March 2019
Mixed by Sonny Johns at The Nave.
Mastered by Andrew Tulloch at The Blue Studio.
Stepping Back, Jumping In is the new album from the British trumpeter, composer and creative force, Laura Jurd. Since bursting onto the British scene almost seven years ago, she’s racked up a vast collection of praise, reverence and awards for her adventurous and colourful style, dynamic and eclectic compositional voice and continuous desire to challenge and surprise audiences with each new project.
Stepping Back, Jumping In is the next step in her journey, placing her at the centre as a performer, composer, bandleader and curator. The title simply refers to the notion of perspective, as Laura explains: “Having a broader view of one’s experience in order to make bold, impactful choices and jump into the unknown. It felt apt for a project of this magnitude having not released something under my own name for a few years”.
The project was commissioned by Kings Place, London as part of their ‘Venus Unwrapped’ series which created the opportunity to bring together some of Laura’s favourite musicians from various musical backgrounds, ending up as a 14-piece ensemble featuring musicians and composers from the UK and Norway, all of whom are equally at home in the realms of improvised and contemporary classical music. This group became a vehicle for five composers, including Laura, to write some extensive new works.
Over the last three years, Laura Jurd’s primary focus as a composer and performer had mainly been on her band Dinosaur, with two acclaimed album releases: Together As One nominated for the Mercury Prize, and Wonder Trail which generated significant international acclaim and profile. Whilst Dinosaur remains active, Laura Jurd the composer craved a larger palette of sounds to work with. “The ensemble consists of brass, string quartet (the Ligeti Quartet who featured on my debut album ‘Landing Ground’), banjo/acoustic guitar and santoor – adding texture and welcome influences from other musical traditions – as well as piano, double bass and drums/percussion. The wildcard of this entirely acoustic ensemble is Anja Lauvdal who plays synth/electronics and works with the successful alt-pop group Broen. I’m a huge fan of Anja’s and knew that she would create sounds that sit within the ensemble perfectly”.
The other composers contributing to this album are Elliot Galvin, Soosan Lolavar and a co-composed piece by Norwegian musicians Anja Lauvdal & Heida K. Jóhannesdóttir. As Laura continues “Elliot’s music is as striking as his piano improvisations. The strong influence of post-war composers like Ligeti and George Crumb, combined with his practice as a jazz musician make his music extremely exciting. He is of course, one of my longest musical collaborators and I firmly believe one of the most captivating performers in European jazz. Soosan, I met at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, where we both teach composition. Of Iranian heritage, I was really intrigued by her interest in traditional Iranian music and how she incorporates that in her own writing. She operates in more ‘classical’ circles and I was excited by the prospect of her writing for improvising musicians. She also plays the Santoor, an Iranian hammered dulcimer-like instrument which is part of the ensemble. Keyboardist Anja Lauvdal and Tuba player Heida Karine Jóhannesdóttir are two of my favourite musicians from Oslo in Norway. They play regularly as an improvised duo and in a number of collaborative ensembles of various styles including alt-pop group ‘Broen’ (Bella Union). I love their collaborative, democratic approach to composition. The way they occupy space as improvisers is also a huge inspiration to me and it was a delight to be a part of their music and to play with Anja for the first time.
With such a variety of influences and approaches, Stepping Back, Jumping In is a truly eclectic album. With the same 14 incredible musicians bringing each piece to life, the album is miraculously brought together in one continuous journey of new music. It was a goal from the outset for Laura to create an ecosystem full of sonic contrast, multiple layers and dimensions and rigorous composition alongside improvisatory spaces. The resulting album is dynamic, vibrant music that welcomes multiple listens, showcasing some of the most exciting composer-instrumentalists around today.
"...a galvanic soundtrack."
"A harmonically rich, free-spirited exploration of new jazz/classical shapes and forms. Jurd's articulate features are just the tip of this harmonically rich, ebbing flowing envelope-pusher."