Tim Lapthorn is a highly gifted young jazz pianist making his mark on the British scene. His bluesy, flowing, lyrical sound sets him apart from many of his contemporaries. His music is accessible and open and his style very much his own. His trio features Tom Herbert double bass and Patrick Levett drums. “Natural Language” is their second album; the first, “Outlines”, received considerable critical acclaim and UK airplay.
Originally from Cambridge, Tim studied French and philosophy at Leeds University then went on to complete a Post-Graduate Diploma in jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Since graduating in 2000 he has been living in London where he works as a performer, teacher and composer. Tim has worked with leading players such as Gilad Atzmon, Anita Wardell and Pete King. As well as with his own trio, Tim currently works closely with Russell Van den Berg (sax); Georgia Mancio and Victoria Newton (vocals); Julian Jackson (harmonica) and Arnie Somogyi (bass) with whom he will be doing a week-long residency at Ronnie Scott's in November. Tim's many influences include Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, John Taylor and, in particular, Keith Jarrett.
Recent performances and airplay:
“ Joyful and unpretentious.. handsomely performed” Richard Cook, Jazz Review Nov 2004
“The overall impression of this album is thoughtfulness, meditation and reflective improvisation. Should you buy the CD? Yes! This is piano trio jazz at its best, played with love and respect.”
Jack Kenny, Jazz Views www.jazzviews.co.uk Sept 2004
“a fluid and confident improviser with a deft touch at the keyboard and an eclectic sensibility. A nicely rounded and very listenable calling card” Kenny Mathieson, Jazzwise Nov 2004
“ a smart, lively and entertaining set….this optimistic and accomplished session has the feel of both work in progress and a strong well-turned result. Originals such as ‘ Loose Connection’ are interleaved with the odd jazz standard and a collector’s choice of jazz themes, such as Steve Swallow’s ‘ Falling Grace’ and Bill Frisell’s ‘Strange Meeting’. It’s busy and precocious, and as a trio they get a singing quality into their collective sound” BBC Music Magazine, Dec 2004
"Hanging influences round a young pianist’s neck is a little like garlanding them with an albatross. It is also lazy thinking. So throw out the shorthand comparisons with Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett and listen. It is hard enough trying to say something new in the trio format that so many great musicians have developed over the years without having to work in shadows of genius.
I watched a young pianist recently who tried to pack so many notes into a bar that the music became indigestible. That does not happen here. It really is brave to eschew the obvious virtuoso effects. The overall impression of this album is thoughtfulness, meditation and reflective improvisation. Tim Lapthorn can also write good themes: listen to the great melody “Loopy”.
On the faster pieces the tempo is such that the lines can be distinguished clearly. Bass player Tom Herbert plays a very conventional accompaniment. In harmony with Lapthorn’s music the bass playing is restrained. Both Herbert and drummer Patrick Levett shine on the reserved reading of Bill Frisell’s "Strange Meeting", because they show their artistry rather than their techniques.
“I Hear a Rhapsody”, “Bemsha Swing”,“My Wild Irish Rose” enable the listener to hear how the improvisation is shaped around the melody. The introduction to “Bemsha Swing” is one of the high lights of the record, completely unlike anything that Bill Evans or Jarrett would do. “My Wild Irish Rose” is a gentle piano solo keeping just clear of sentimentality.
Should you buy the CD? Yes! This is piano trio jazz at its best, played with love and respect.
A final plea: don’t use fade outs. It sounds as though some one has become bored and is unable to appreciate the architecture of the improvisation".
Reviewed by Jack Kenny, Jazz