Peter Edwards Trio
A Matter Of Instinct
Peter Edwards – piano, Fender Rhodes
Max Luthert – bass
Moses Boyd -drums
Peter Edwards has put an satisfying amount of solid achievement under his belt since leaving Trinity Laban with a Masters degree. Starting with a MOBO nomination in 2014, he notched up a further JazzFM nomination and a PJA Newcomer award in 2015, as well as releasing his first album Safe And Sound to enthusiastic reviews in the Guardian and elsewhere. He’s also landed the gig as Zara McFarlane’s musical director, and this album gives a clear indication of why he’s so admirably suited to the role – his clear, concise take on elegant soul-jazz is a perfect match for her accessible, pared-back matching of the tradition with contemporary post-Norah Jones songwriting.
Edwards’ career was also fostered by Tomorrow’s Warriors, with whom he’s actively involved as a workshop leader, and as on his debut album fellow alumnus and MOBO winner Moses Boyd joins him on drums. Boyd romps effortlessly through the changes of the self-explanatory “Groove, Swing, Funk” – he shares much of the leader’s stylistic versatility and rhythmic precision, and the album benefits throughout from their strong connection.
Edwards showcases his strengths as a composer/arranger in a range of different but related contexts; his writing, like his playing, is hip and efficient, and he’s got a knack for a catchy melody. “Samba City” brings George Duke’s Brazilian adventures to mind, building to a suitably tropical head with a powerful drum break, while “The Runaround” develops a puckish stop-start theme into a hot-but-relaxed swinging workout reminiscent of the Wynton Kelly trio, with bassist Max Luthert solid as a highly musical rock throughout. “Matter Of Instinct” and “Flying High” are highly melodic pop-jazz-groove tunes that seem to be tailor made for a vocal from Ms McFarlane, and “Down But Not Out” extrapolates from “Georgia On My Mind” to create the sort of soulful ballad that would sound right on point on Jools Holland’s Later. Alternately, with added horns, “Escape Velocity” could fit in nicely on a Roy Hargrove album alongside “Strasbourg St Denis”. As well as a very pleasing listen, the album is as good an advert for Edwards’ eminent employability as a musical director as he could wish for.