Natural Language

COMPOSERS: Bill Frisell,Steve Swallow,Tim Lapthorn
PERFORMER: Tim Lapthorn (piano), Tom Herbert (bass), Patrick Levett (drums)


Perhaps the greatest challenge of all is getting something surprising out of a piano-trio record. It’s the most overpopulated and regularly-traversed part of Planet Jazz, and it needs an explosion of genius to do something that makes everyone sit up.

Although Tim Lapthorn’s group isn’t on that level, they’ve made a smart, lively and entertaining set with Natural Language. Lapthorn, bassist Tom Herbert and drummer Patrick Levett are part of a wave of young players who are now bringing a lot of welcome life to a jaded London jazz scene, and this optimistic and accomplished session has the feel of both work in progress and a strong and well-turned result.


Originals such as the groovesome ‘Loose Connection’ are interleaved with the odd 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.