A comparatively new figure on the London music scene, trumpeter and flugelhorn player Charlotte Keeffe first came to the attention of many London musicians when, not long after achieving her M.Mus. degree, she was an early attendee at the weekly Mopomoso workshop that was set up by the late great guitarist John Russell, in the summer of 2016. Although she was soon a lynchpin of the workshop, Keeffe was often absent as she was involved in an impressively eclectic range of other musical activities. Despite her ability to turn her hand to many styles, it was soon apparent that jazz, improv and experimental music were her favourites and fortes.
It was not long until Keeffe was a member of the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), not just featured as a player but also as a leader of conductions. In addition to solo performances, she was soon recruited by none other than clarinettist and guitarist Alex Ward to be a key member of his groupings Item 4 and Item 10, impressive given Ward's eye for talented bandmates. She also formed her own foursome, the Charlotte Keeffe Quartet (CKQ) which gave a sell-out performance at the 2019 Lancaster Jazz Festival. With so much musical activity in her life, it is not surprising that this album, Right Here, Right Now — her second appearance on Martin Archer's Discus label — should be a compilation of nine tracks from 2016 to 2019 which include two solo pieces, one trumpet/guitar duo improvisation, three CKQ Keeffe-composed pieces and three LIO conductions; along the way, those tracks include milestones such as melodies and compositions Keeffe wrote as a teenager, her first freely improvised trumpet solo and her first LIO conduction.
In the wrong hands, such diversity could easily have become an incoherent pot pourri of contrasting, or even conflicting, styles. To the credit of Keeffe and the other musicians here, that does not happen. At root, the reason is clear and simple; Keeffe's own playing runs through the entire album like a golden thread, providing a clear reference point and a coherent vision. The message is plain and simple: Keeffe has arrived and she is going to be around for a very long time; yes, she is one to watch out for...
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