Drummer Patrick Kunka uses the classic hard-bop style as a starting point for excursions into modal jazz. He leads in a blazing way, as befits someone taught at the celebrated Berklee College of Music. A musical apprenticeship in his hometown of Aberdeen gave Kunka a grounding in diverse styles – from rock to Celtic music – but the US experience has brought out an aggression rarely seen in British Jazz.
His forcefulness certainly infects Leah Gough-Cooper, who carries a lot of weight as front-line soloist. With fine rhythmic agility and a neat harmonic sense, she has an urgent tone on alto-saxophone, Meanwhile pianist Alan Benzie rips through lightning runs, creates chordal explosions and swings with real vigour, and partner-in-rhythm Dylan Coleman, another Berklee graduate, is a tempestuous string bassist.
The group’s debut album, The Edge, is certainly strong on energetic, uptempo melodies (Collider, Mode For Max and the title track), yet the beautiful ballads (4am, Free Spirit) make clear that real emotions can co-exist with technique. Mike Butler
Tomorrow, The Cluny, 36 Lime Street, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, 8pm, £7, £3, and £5 concs. Tel: 0191 230 4474. Metro: Byker. www.patrickkunka.com