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.