'Fours' Spotlight: Nick Jurd
'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...
There is no shortage of talent in the UK, and it's a real treat to get to hear so many incredible musicians perform in London. Nick, based in Birmingham, had an all too brief stint living in the capital and in that short time he quickly became one of my favorite bass players to call (sadly I didn't have enough gigs to fully take advantage of this). I often find there are some folk who I love to listen to but don't necessarily hook up well with when it comes to performing, but with Nick I found both to be true - his playing is right up my street as both listener and performer. He has the imagination to provide a looseness and space in the music whilst still taking care of business that gives a rhythmic freedom to an ensemble, being unafraid to break away from walking lines and switch to playing supportive counter-melodies. This in turn helps provide shape, and allowing ensemble intuition to dictate moments of tension and release. There are many moments of this throughout Vol. II of the Fours record, but as a quick example, I like the slipperiness to the quite up-tempo I Remember You, with Nick restraining from going into a power-walk until a good minute and a half in, eventually cooking up a storm for Tom's piano solo:
Alas, London's loss is Birmingham's gain. Nick has been keeping himself very busy playing with some of the UK's most highly regarded artists in a variety of wide-ranging genres, including recording with cutting edge saxophonist/rapper/producer Soweto Kinch (check out the latest album Nonagram that Nick features on), contemporary soul/jazz outfit Trope (new record out next year, until then check this out), and several records with improviser extraordinaire Paul Dunmall.
Peruse the rest of Nick's impressive discography including records with guitarist Alex Haines and drummer Jonathan Silk, along with news etc at his website: nickjurd.com
I would like to thank Nick, as well as Tom and Corrie, for their time, craft and friendship in making 'Fours' Vol. II. Purchase on bandcamp here.