Mike Soper – ‘Undoing’ – London Jazz News

Mike Soper– Loss

(Self-released on Bandcamp. Album review by Peter Slavid)

Trumpet mike soper graduated from Trinity College almost 10 years ago. Since then he has played in everything from the traditional Old Hat Jazz Band to the Bryan Ferry Orchestra, Congolese dance influenced Kongo Dia Ntotila, as well as many more ‘conventional’ modern jazz.

He inevitably cites an eclectic range of musical and other influences. It’s the first album under his own name, and in terms of jazz, those influences, especially Steve Coleman and Peter Evans, can all be heard.

He assembled an excellent team to play his compositions. The album, which speaks of “volition, surrender, curiosity, intuition and freedom”, according to the virtual liner note, is produced by Laura Jurdand two of the group, Elliot Galvin on keyboards and Tom McCredie on bass, are among his regular collaborators. Jay Davis on drums is another in-demand musician with a diverse mix of projects.

The compositions are interesting and melodic. The arrangements are of various styles passing through punk, synth, funk and cinema. Sometimes the tone of the piece is set by Galvin’s keyboards, but the pieces are driven by Soper’s trumpet which can twinkle or rumble at will.

Throughout the album, drums and bass lay down intricate shifting rhythms, the music often suddenly stops and starts up again with a totally different feel, and they manage to make it all sound natural.

The album begins with a funky bass beat over which the trumpet picks up a crisp melody. This is then picked up by Galvin’s keyboard before the trumpet returns for an extended solo and then everyone joins in.

The nine-minute track “The Canopy” features a standout trumpet solo, as the rhythms move behind it and the keyboards pulsate around it. Then Galvin takes over for his own solo which gradually fades out so that the track ends with an almost ambient feel. In contrast, “acrylic” begins with the trumpet melody alternating with, then joining a heavy rock beat.

This may be Soper’s debut album, but the band have been playing together for a while and it has this mature, settled feel. Now that they’ve been recorded, I’m sure we’ll hear more about them.

Peter Slavid broadcasts a European Jazz show on mixcloud.com/ukjazz and various internet stations.

LINK: Loss on Bandcamp

Loss is published today, July 8, 2022

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