The Prickle (@ThePrickle) November 23, 2016
The closing night of the EFG London Jazz Festival feels like it warrants a team talk: “It’s been a big 10 days, you’ve given everything to the music, the mayhem and the city…but there’s one big last gig left in you! One last chance to celebrate jazz in all it’s glory in the city that never sleeps (without attempeting to consume its body-weight in espresso martinis)!” Fully psyched for such an evening, Shoreditch Town Hall buzzed with excitement of all ages as Bill Laurance launched into the ultimate gig of this year’s festival.
Joined by Joshua Blackmore on drums, Chris Hyson on bass and Felix Higginbottom on percussion, Bill’s tour-hardened group are capable of delivering driving piano-led tunes that are gaining their own signature Laurance elements The set is also impressive for the range in styles on offer. While After Sun (the title track of their 2016 studio album) has a cinematic quality that would easily be at home underscoring a blockbuster smash like Gone Girl, other synth-heavy electronic numbers nod towards Dance music. You get a lot of Bill for your buck.
This fusion of old and new-age is never sharper and more throbbing than in Swift, the title track of last year’s release. It’s relentless arpeggios lead from the front with a sternum-punching bass that signals an Eianudi-meets-house vibe that any club would be proud to present in tandem with lasers and ravers.
After self-penned tributes to significant people and cities in his life, Bill delivers his rendition of ‘House of the Rising Sun’, reiterating that melodic clarity and balance lie at the heart of his continuously successful work. As fine a note as any to conclude this year’s jazz festival and (almost) round-off another hugely impressive year for Mr Laurance and Co.
Live At Union Chapel is out now on GroundUP Music.