His rolling style and classically tinged pianistic talents are the essence of what sets Bill Laurance apart from other leading ivory (substitute) ticklers today, but it is his ability to compose pieces that satisfy a variety of ears that hoist him aloft as a genius rather than a prodigy.
Having found himself a style, a niche that could be trademarked, a Bill Laurance penned tune is almost immediately recognisable despite other bands joining him in this new genre somewhere between hardcore jazz, funk, world and classical. GoGo Penguin, Takuya Kuroda or Sleepwalker take a similar position, but the Bill Laurance Group have that certain je ne sais quoi, possibly as a result of Bill’s extensive travelling and love of France and Morocco, but ably aided and abetted by the excellent musicians that make up this most modern of jazz quartets. Joshua Blackmore (Drums), Felix Higginbottom (percussion, keys, awesome name) and Chris Hyson (Bass) are exceptional, and I’m sure will grow as the tour progresses.
As the first stop on said tour, we were treated to some world premieres, which went down extremely well with the small but knowledgeable crowd and featured some imaginative use of loops and all the bells and whistles available on a Korg Nord Stage 3, along with the grand, the Hammond and the (Moog, maybe?). My only disappointment was that the Roli Seaboard was plugged in, but didn’t make an appearance. Maybe it will when Bill returns with Snarky Puppy on May 3rd!