Jazz pianist John Turville concludes his tour on March 9 at The Verdict in Brighton – a string of dates on the road with his debut quintet album.
The album Head First saw John work with saxophonist Julian Argüelles, double bassist Dave Whitford, drummer James Maddren and trumpeter Robbie Robson – a project partly inspired by the music of John’s mentor, the late John Taylor.
“We came together just for the recording which is quite unusual for me. We usually tour a bit and then go into the studio, but the sax player Julian lives in Austria and we recorded in Italy where I have recorded my previous two trio albums.
“We formed the quintet really for the studio project. If you are on the road first, it gives it all more time to come together, but with this way, everything was fresher, and Julian is such a brilliant musician.
“He just read the music instantly and got the vibe. I have known him for many years and I invited him to become part of the project. And a lot of us had worked together before.
“But the whole thing just came together beautifully. It seems really fresh, and I think the album sounds great.
“I love the feeling of experimenting. When you are working with great musicians, it is amazing what you can do. We are just enjoying the album for the moment and then after this I will write a bit more material and then hopefully we can get back into the studio again, maybe in the summer.
“It’s a couple of years since we recorded this. It was 2017. We have had the chance to sit on it for a bit, and then once we had the release finalised, we could work the tour out.”
John Turville is regarded as one of the leading jazz pianists of his generation, and has won multiple awards for his two trio albums including MOJO’s #3 Jazz Album of the Year (2012), and Best Album in the Parliamentary Awards 2011. He also won Best Instrumentalist in the 2010 London Jazz Awards and the 2009 PRS Promoter’s Choice Award and was a semi-finalist in the Martial Solal Jazz Piano Concours in 2010.
John runs the tango quintet Almagro Ensemble, the E17 Large Ensemble and co-leads Solstice, featuring Brigitte Beraha and Tori Freestone. He is also an experienced composer and arranger for strings, voices, jazz and tango ensembles.
Now comes Head First.
One of the elements in the mix is the influence of the late John Taylor: “He was very well known and was a big thing for me and for Julian. I had worked with him, and he was the greatest British jazz pianist of all time. It was just something that he had. He had a very lyrical sound. He was one of the first people to bring in a more impressionistic sound. It was something quite unique and something, I think, which is quite British. He influenced a lot of people. There was something about his harmonies which attracted me, something that was quite playful. I knew him fairly well. We both taught in Birmingham. Particularly towards the end of his life he was very happy to deliver more teaching.”
Other influences and other thoughts mix together on the album, but it was John’s death which was perhaps the spur: “I have been on lots and lots of albums, but it was a few years since I had done my own thing, and that was a real influence on me wanting to put this album together, and I think it was the same with Julian.”