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Tomasz Bura trio – Future Inns, March 3

March 5, 2016

Woah, where did he come from? There are so many superb jazz players these days that even the most obsessive listener can drop into a venue and be startled by someone they’ve never come across before. This is just such a night at Future Inns. It’s obvious from the first few piano chords (there are lots of chords throughout) that Tomasz Bura is pretty special. And two sets of original music that follow only reinforce that impression.

Bura was classically schooled in his native Poland, and plays jazz infused with classical technique, and the full breadth of European harmony. He’s been compared to Neil Cowley, but I reckon Gwilym Simcock or the phenomenal Michael Wollny might be closer matches. Not a lot of gospel or blues coming through here – though I’ve no doubt he could do that if he cared to – but lots of dynamics, pedal work, and changes of tempo. The trio – with Philip van den Brandeler on electric bass and Callum Green on drums – work brilliantly together, if sometimes a little too loud for the room.

Most of the pieces come from the excellent Ritual – a solo recording from last year – or a forthcoming set to be titled Visions. The vision is broad, with lots of rich themes, some quirky dances, touches of Jarrett and Meldhau when required. Much of the piano work is chordal, hardly any of the headlong single note runs of bebop, but the nicely set up synth perched on top of Future Inns Yamaha allows some single note solos in a different set of tone colours.

The mood is mostly fairly upbeat, and there is plenty of drama – with just a few hints of bombast, quickly reined in. They seem to be having a blast playing Bura’s tunes, and possibly even more fun on the rocking Come Together, treated with exemplary disrespect at the close.

A beautiful surprise all round. A surprise to Bristol’s jazz punters too, apparently, so the crowd was not the largest. It should be a lot bigger for his next visit.



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