Catch-up time — Turas came out earlier in 2018 and worth mentioning all these months on because it was a thrill earlier this year given my unforgiveable lapse at not reviewing the record making up for it a tiny bit at least by hearing Fergus McCreadie play a club gig in London with the Matt Carmichael Quartet.
It certainly roused me out of my slumber and surprised me at the time and in retrospect was one of my gigs of the year. Not long afterwards I bumped into the pianist lurking in the shadows at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards but he did not win, ridiculously, that night. He did not seem to bear much of a grudge as he picked up an award for the Glaswegian promoter Jill Rodger who could not make it to Holborn that night. Fergus hardly needs the parliamentarian parchment because his debut, all bright voicings, melodic, folky, containing a lilt to Turas that is never trite or too homely — the work of the McCreadie trio legislates all by itself.
The title, the language scholars among you will know, is a Gaelic word for that X Factor much used-and-abused noun of choice “Journey”. McCreadie, who writes the tunes, is with David Bowden on double bass and Stephen Henderson on drums in solid support and cleanly recorded by Liane Carroll’s favourite producer/studio engineer James McMillan working from his own studio.
The style and sense of flow of the tracks are very mature, and regards McCreadie it does not take a genius or very long at all to realise that the pianist has Loch Ness Monster-sized chops, or if you prefer think Brian Kellock-meets-Gwilym Simcock preferably not on a boat, less trad than Kellock and not at all jazz-rock going on prog as is Simcock’s wont but the common ground they share applies.
When McCreadie moves full tilt into an improvisation it is completely Jarrett-fluent circa My Song in terms of feel and composure, swings like the clappers and has a real passion to it sometimes aided by say on ‘The Set’ the metrical rigour and discipline of a reel, kilts flying, sporrans ever more dubiously dangling as the trio go ape and a delirium of sorts seems to set in.
How rare is that? Answers, suggestions, advice, recipes perhaps not, on a postcard to Santa’s little helper c/o the Jazz Grotto. Why not, while at it, scribble a kindly request for this as a stocking filler addressed to one of your nearest and dearest’s come sleigh time? Santa won’t mind.