London’s Dinosaur has made a relatively silent entrance to the game despite being seemingly one of the premiere nu jazz outfits of 2018 (although as long as Jaga Jazzist isn’t producing content it’s a relatively easy title to earn). I kid of course, but believe me when I say this quartet are some of the most fun fusers of electronic and jazz music in recent history.
Comparative to other nu jazz artists in the field, Dinosaur are fairly grounded in their delivery. They generally steer clear of avant-garde and glitch elements and opt instead for somewhat of a funky turnover from their original, more conventional jazz sound. The drums are much more dry and rhythmic, combining well with the bass of the album as a more unified and cohesive percussion section. This is a technique seen used with artists like Vulfpeck, and one that works extremely well when one wants to create a insatiable groove.
This technique Dinosaur use for their percussion also leaks into the rest of their sound. Elliot Galvin’s synthesizer, along with Laura Jurd’s trumpet, are delivered in a very subdued and quiet manner, still retaining power but instead of trying for an epic spectacle of harmony Dinosaur earn their brilliance with how their general minimalism. Of course it wouldn’t be nu jazz without the electronic underpinnings, which work to great effect as they add a layer of ambient sound that transforms what would otherwise be dry-as-a-saltine jazz-funk into a more melodic and memorable performance.
Truly a diamond in the rough and a proper presentation of what can only be called “quiet thunder”.