London’s Jazz re:freshed organisation continue with their expanding ‘5ives’ series of releases which challenges their ever expanding roster to create a five track based project, hence the title, with Rosie Turton and her band next in line. The group consist of bandleader and trombonist Rosie Turton, Maria Chiara Argirò playing piano and Wurlitzer electric piano, bassist Twm Dylan, drummer Jake Long and violinist Johanna Burnheart. This super curated series has previously seen various esteemed UK artists such as Nubya Garcia (2017), Triforce (2016), Ashley Henry (2015) and further back in 2011 Kaidi Tatham (would love that to be pressed on vinyl) join the Jazz re:freshed catalogue.
With space only for five tracks there is no room for lacklustre writing and performances, with the gentle intro to the 9-minute ‘The Unknown’ providing a false sense of security as this gradually builds over its duration to uncover an emotionally tense and brooding atmosphere with its abundance of textures and themes. ‘The Purge’, where initially there isn’t much of a tonal shift, and so thus, keeps its seductive and hypnotic spiritual temperament with violinist Johanna Burnheart especially strong here. At the mid point it effortlessly switches from 4/4 to 7/4 and then back to 4/4 again all in under a minute with drummer Jake Long (also a member of Maisha) providing the solid backbone required to create these tricky but vital changes. Obvious comparisons with Johanna Burnheart to Jean-Luc Ponty and others are understandable, but here Joanna reminds the listener that jazz violin is not an afterthought or a gimmick but an essential component of the project.
‘Stolen Ribs’ includes the prominent lead vocals of Luke Newman where he adds a narration to the raga focused composition with his almost folk-like vocal touch both lyrically and stylistically. Very original. ‘Butterfly’ is a remarkably loose cover of the eternal Herbie Hancock classic (I didn’t notice at first listen), which includes very melodic solos by both Rosie and Maria Chiara Argirò on piano, who is also another crucial element to the album’s success. The final composition, ‘Orange Moon’, additionally includes Ben Hayes on synths adding extremely effective but subtle electronic tones and effects to this bassline driven number fronted by Twm Dylan who is also a member of UK Vibe favourite Maisha.
I personally found it difficult to find a stand out track as all five pieces are engaging and enjoyable, and possibly the 5-track limit can lead to an artist making very direct and precise decisions. The Trinity College alumnus has successfully crafted an intriguing and absorbing debut of outstanding quality, with Rosie also a member of the woefully inactive London super group Nérija who self released their only album (which also needs a vinyl pressing) in 2016.
Jazz re:freshed have played a crucial role in identifying and exposing the UK’s leading new jazz artists such as Rosie at the relative early stages of their careers, especially their recording careers, with ‘5ive’ possibly the most comprehensive in the series thus far. Rosie has stated that the album was influenced by her numerous trips to India, and this impact can be felt throughout ‘5ive’, although, this isn’t an Indo-jazz fusion record by any means. Nonetheless, you can hear Rosie’s confidence and imagination during the album as trombonist, improviser and also bandleader, and we look forward to hearing more from Rosie in the future.