Dave Morecroft’s World Service Project, Future Inns Jazz Club, Nov 21

A young band, this, full of ambition and musicianship and coming with good reports from plenty of discerning listeners, including Sebastian Scotney of LondonJazz and the indefatigably enthusiastic Mr Storror. And they largely lived up to the billing in this, the first gig of a tour to launch their debut recording.

Morecroft wrote most (all?) of the tunes, and is an interesting craftsman, creating good vehicles for his bandmates, Tim Ower on sax, Raph Clarkson, trombone, Conor Chaplin on bass and Neil Blandford on drums and for his own keyboard work, mostly on the electric instrument. He’s interested in punkish beats and intertwined lines, and the effect is often Polar Bearish, with flashes of lots of other things, including Zappa’s jazzier side. They’re young and loud, and full of energy, but not wearingly so. Some of the pieces still sound a little like student exercises (including an arrangement of Smells Like Teen Spirit, which was), but there are good solos from all concerned, especially Clarkson’s trombone. In fact the most effective moments were on a threnody to a departed friend which features Morecroft’s Abdullah Ibrahim-like acoustic piano in duo with Clarkson. It would be good to hear more of this side of his musical character, and less of the funked-up stuff, which is cheerily contemporary but not always easy to distinguish from half a dozen other not-long-out-of-college bands.

They are touring into the New Year, and well worth catching, perhaps when they’ve bedded down the whole act a little more and Morecroft has worked a bit more on his amiably rambling links and got over the anxiety about making a musical living which he betrayed in some of his slightly too numerous to be endearing exhortations to buy the new CD. Hey, we paid to come to the gig, you know…



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