Now in his thirties, trumpeter/flugelhorn player and composer Freddie Gavita has earned his jazz spurs having been for a decade a regular performer with the Ronnie Scott’s club quintet as well as being an integral member of jazz-rock formation Fletch’s Brew. Earlier on in his career, Gavita was in fact part of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and performed equally with the Johnny Dankworth Orchestra. This debut recording was actually financed via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter on which no less than one hundred and fifty backers pledged their financial allegiance to the cause of jazz. The results are here for all to hear and, in general, the music itself is an inventive take on the hard-bop format with creative compositions that break the traditional mould of this idiom, and, moreover, hint at a promising future. A piece, ‘Iverson oddity’, is an interesting waltz-like number where the trumpet scales soar increasingly higher and there is fine percussive accompaniment from Madden. Indeed, the compositions showcased offer the musicians the opportunity to improvise at length and this is certainly the case for Madden on, ‘Lion-O’. In a more mournful mood is the nine and a half minute, ‘The Vow’, where rim-drum effects are deployed with bass and flugelhorn in tandem and a simple repetitive riff. Vamps are a feature of this band and pianist Cawley produces the catchiest of riffs on the album opener, ‘Stromming the ham’.
Ballads are not forgotten, however, and can be quite opaque in character as on, ‘Beloved’, where once again piano and flugelhorn enter into a lengthy duet. A heartfelt tribute to a close friend, Richard Turner, serves as the inspiration on, ‘Turneround’, and this has something of a Blue Note feel with a pretty melody and a clarity of phrasing that seems to be the hallmark of the leader. If one had to mention influences, then Freddie Hubbard would immediately spring to mind, both the early Blue Note years as well as the Atlantic period, while pianist Tom Cawley comes across as someone who has taken in the influences of mid-1960s Herbie Hancock and the modal flavours of McCoy Tyner.
Ably assisting proceedings are the swinging rhythm section comprising pianist Tom Cawley who excels throughout and clearly has an important role in the band sound, bassist Calum Gourlay and the ever inventive drumming of James Madden. The colourful artwork comes courtesy of Carl Hyde. Freddie Gavita and the quintet performed their debut at, where else? Ronnie Scott’s on 19 April.