Jazz

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

Groove Trav­els Ger­ard Pres­encer & Dan­ish Ra­dio Big Band Edi­tion/Planet

Born in Lon­don, Ger­ard Pres­encer is some­thing of a trum­pet prodigy: at the age of 11 he was the youngest trum­peter with the Na­tional Youth Jazz Or­ches­tra and at 18 be­gan play­ing with pi­anist Stan Tracey. He went on to per­form with John Dankworth, Her­bie Hancock, Chick Corea, Chris Pot­ter and many oth­ers. He has won the Bri­tish Jazz Awards four times and is an ac­tive jazz ed­u­ca­tor. In 2010 he be­came a soloist with the Dan­ish Ra­dio Big Band and moved to Copen­hagen. Pres­encer says he has taken six years to get this al­bum of his ar­range­ments to­gether; five of its eight tracks are orig­i­nals and most fea­ture the rich mel­low tone of his flugel­horn. The sump­tu­ous opener, An­other Weirdo, is a re­laxed piece demon­strat­ing Pres­encer’s com­po­si­tional and ar­rang­ing skills, as well as a vir­tu­oso tech­nique, his flugel­horn solo cut­ting through the pre­cise big-band scor­ing with great flair and in­ven­tion. Blues for Des be­gins with a tricky flugel­horn ca­denza in a West African rhythm, which Pres­encer de­scribes as ei­ther a slow beat in three or a fast bar of seven and five. What­ever, it brings some clever per­cus­sion from renowned guest artist Cuban drum­mer Eliel Lazo, and smart so­los from the com­poser and Kar­lMartin Almqvist’s tenor sax. There are a cou­ple of in­spired in­ter­pre­ta­tions of pop songs, Eleanor Rigby and I Can’t Stop Lov­ing You, plus a pow­er­ful ver­sion of Wayne Shorter’s Foot­prints. Groove Trav­els is so­phis­ti­cated and ex­cit­ing, with splen­did soloists and ob­vi­ous joie de vivre.

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