If you're a flute trio, you need to be innovative. And Tempest Flute Trio certainly are: they presented an impressive array of works at the Forge in Camden last night, ranging from innovative arrangements to commissions, and performing with a sense of ensemble which would have been remarkable for any grouping of instruments.

A striking arrangement of Debussy's solo flute piece Syrinx was their opening gambit. Apparently inspired by a version by American jazz flautist Hubert Laws which uses a delay pedal, the group's arrangement largely treated the famous melodic line in canon. The harmonies they found were beautiful and convincingly Debussian, and the performance was enhanced by the players' placement, scattered around the room and a balcony above.

Tempest were not, however, entirely dependent on novel effects, as was clear from the high number of works written specifically for them. Composer Mark Simpson said before his Flute Trio was performed that he had treated the ensemble like 'one superflute', and his composition was certainly very well conceived for these players. It wasn't, on the other hand, much like one would imagine a 'superflute' to sound: this was a very aggressive and often piercingly loud piece, at odds with traditional, more gentle associations of the instrument. As an erstwhile flautist myself, I greatly enjoyed this, which I took as proof that flutes can be just as loud and deafening as the next instrument.

Another highlight among the commissioned works was Gary Carpenter's Niederau, which, the composer informed us, was the first piece ever written for Tempest. And it did a brilliant job of demonstrating all the best features of the group, giving them long passages of rhythmic unison which they handled fantastically, and an array of soft staccato chords, played with real wit. The piece's intricate but light harmonic language incorporated a range of effects, including key-tapping and an odd, slightly disconcerting schlurping noise. A less convincing new work – receiving its première – was Adam Gorb's A New Life for Anya, a piece referring in some way to his recent sex-trafficking opera Anya17. It was meant to display 'Optimism for the future', after the title character's tribulations, but I wasn't completely sure how this fairly gentle, decidedly abstract work was meant to provoke exploration of an issue quite as harrowing as that discussed.

A few smaller pieces, by Edmund Jolliffe, Lucy Pankhurst, Pete Foggitt and Eddie McGuire, filled out the programme, further demonstrating the versatility of the ensemble in diverse styles, and also the range of compositional approaches possible with three flutes. The one foray into the (minuscule) classical flute trio repertory was 18th-century French composer François Devienne's Sonata no. 1, which was played with talent but seemed a little out of place.

Though they handled the diversity of their programme well, Tempest were most impressive in the more strongly jazz-influenced numbers, two of which were arranged by group member Helen Wilson. Andy Scott's Latin-style Salt of the Earth had a funky, breathy rhythmic ostinato, and Chick Corea's Spain was a dreamy delight with a brilliant alto flute solo and added bongos.

For the final piece, Callum Au's Temporal Flux, the group were unexpectedly joined by a full band, and while this was an enjoyable jazz fusion performance I couldn't help but feel that ending in this manner took away slightly from Tempest's accomplishments as a trio. I was amazed by how well this bizarre instrumentation had held my attention over the evening, and it would perhaps have been better to end the recital more solidly on their own terms. Tempest have certainly changed my perceptions of what a flute trio can achieve, and I hope they continue to make strides in and beyond their niche.

Tempest Flute Trio, at The Forge, CamdenPaul Kilbey review Tempest Flute Trio at the Forge, London.3