I did a couple of posts of this nature for Human Love by Newton Faulkner, and I thought it would be a cool idea to make this into a series. My plan is to write short previews of a few of my most anticipated albums of the year in the run-up to their respective releases.
The first trailer for Bill Laurance’s new project dropped today and I’m very excited. Laurence has shown on multiple occasions in recent years that he is one of very few new, original voices in British jazz today.
Laurance’s first album, Flint, is one of my favourite albums of the last few years. It was a refreshingly creative approach to jazz which balanced a need for experimentation into the realm of musical landscaping whilst remaining grounded in a powerful and to-the-point musical experience. The album was recorded with a reasonably large ensemble, featuring Laurance’s fellow Snarky Puppy members, Michael League (bass), Mike ‘Maz’ Maher (brass) and Robert ‘Sput’ Searight (drums) as well as a fantastic string section
The follow up to FlintSwift, was a little disappointing to me. I felt that Laurance ventured a little too far into the realm of the musical landscape and abandoned the key melodies and structural elements that kept his compositions grounded. Listening to the project was an odd experience that left me a little overwhelmed by the all encompassing sound of Laurance’s compositions.
Having looked into the ideas behind Aftersun, I am not worried at all as to how this next record is going to turn out. Here Laurance seems to be attempting, once again, to make a complete shift in style and really build something new out of what jazz and world music have already established. Here is the description of the album on Laurance’s website:

FOR HIS THIRD ALBUM, LAURANCE REDUCES THE MUSIC TO IT’S ROOTS FEATURING THE ORIGINAL TRIO OF SNARKY PUPPY’S MICHAEL LEAGUE AND ROBERT “SPUT” SEARIGHT WITH LEGENDARY NEW ORLEANS PERCUSSIONIST WEEDIE BRAIMAH.
DANCE AND AFRICAN PERCUSSION AT ITS HEART, AFTERSUN COMBINES DEEP WORLD GROOVES WITH LAURANCE’S SIGNATURE GENRE BENDING EXPLORATION.

I am fascinated by the potential of this album. The fact that Laurance is stripping his sound back to a small ensemble with a greater focus on world music is pretty much exactly what I wanted from a new project. One of the most unique things about Snarky Puppy is their use of percussion, and seeing as percussion is taking such a large role on Aftersun, I expect that we are in for a more active and lively sound than on previous projects.

​Expect more updates on Aftersun as new information and tracks are dropped in the run-up to the album’s release.

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