CD REVIEW: John Turville - Head First


John Turville - Head First
(Whirlwind Recordings. WR4734. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)


John Turville has put together a quintet that spans generations for this lively, self-assured release, with saxophonist Julian Arguelles, a mainstay of British jazz for over 30 years, joining younger musicians like drummer James Maddren and Robbie Robson on trumpet. Dave Whitford is on bass.

Turville sits at the centre of the record. The music is varied, reflecting Turville's eclectic influences. The eleven tracks comprise three latin numbers, some meditative piano and some energetic ensemble playing, all infused with Turville's sensitive piano playing.

He admits being inspired by John Taylor, who played on a couple of Arguelles' recordings and to whom the CD is dedicated. Taylor's influence is perhaps most evident on Ennerdale, on which Robson seems to evoke Taylor's long time collaborator, Kenny Wheeler, too.

As well as his own compositions, Turville has chosen pieces by other composers that complement his piano style. Michel Pettruciani's boppy Beautiful But Why closes the CD; Dan Schissi's Cancion 4 is played as a contemplative duet with Robson. It is followed by Francisca, by Toninho Horta, a piece for piano trio which could be timeless.

The band manage to sound bigger than a quintet at times, with Arguelles and Robson playing diverging lines, as in the freeish Seahorses. But it is perhaps on the smaller scale pieces that the band excel. The relationships between Turville and both Arguelles and Robson on Interval Music and Cancion respectively create moments of beauty. Both horns sound superb, imaginative and assured throughout. On Cyclic Chorale Turville sets up an enigmatic, low-key conversation with some lovely playing from Whitford and Maddren.

The band is touring – see full dates below.

Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.

John Turville tour dates

25 February - Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London
26 February - Herts Jazz, The Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans
27 February - Eastside Jazz Club, Birmingham
28 February – Workshop, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
28 February - Cambridge Modern Jazz Club (Hidden Rooms)
1 March - The Fleece, Colchester
2 March - Workshop, Royal Academy of Music, London
4 March - Wells Cathedral, Cedars Hall
5 March - St Ives Jazz Club (Great Western Hotel)
6 March - Workshop and Concert, Purcell School, Bushey
7 March - Nottingham Jazzsteps, Bonington Theatre, Arnold
8 March - Workshop, Leeds College of Music
8 March - Sheffield Jazz, Crookes Social Club
9 March - The Verdict, Brighton

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