Last year, while watching a gutsy young band at Love Supreme Jazz Festival , I wrote a one word note on my phone. Trope. It was a reminder to watch out for these fearless and talented musicians. Described by Peter Bacon from The Jazz Breakfast as ‘Nu Jazz’, they also incorporate other styles and influences. Able to rework a Stevie Wonder song and make it their own, they are almost precocious.
One song that stood out from their EP Butterflies and Dragons was ‘Butterfly’. Filled with advice from the grandmother of feisty vocalist Cherise Adams-Burnett, there is a staccato tension at the beginning that is released by her beautiful vocals. Full of optimism and ascending scale riffs, it is a far cry from the latest EP 5ive.
Just a year later the scales descend, the lyrics become more biting and the rhythms more staccato. Their image at Love Supreme was sharper, while playing at a small jazz club they seemed more casual and relaxed. Some technical problems with the mike and missing band member seemed to throw them off a little. Temporarily, their guard came down but was swiftly put up again with tough-girl songs like ‘Rude’.
Still, there were some dynamic and outstanding solos from arranger and pianist Andy Bunting, some funky bass from Nick Jurd, some prolonged experimental tappings from drummer Jonathan Silk (who also plays with Soweto Kinch), and some hypnotic vocal riffs from Cherise.
Just as life can change dramatically in your early years, no doubt their music will continue to evolve and reflect those changes. That is what will make Trope interesting to watch out for in the future.