"All in" Beats and Pieces Big Band:In this day and age it's incredibly difficult to get together and record a big band album that gets taken out for promotional gigs. This band has done both and is an excellent reminder of why big bands can be so exciting to listen to (and watch). All the tracks are written by Ben Cottrell the musical director, except for a versi9on of David Bowie's "Let's dance". It's an aural treat and one that deserves to be listened to in full at one listening. Very impressive!
"String Theory" Partikel;The three piece are an impressive unit on their own, but on this album they've recruited a string quartet to fill out the sound. It changes the ambience completely and works really well. I saw the group with just Benet McLean who wrote the arrangements playing violin. Considering that he says that piano is his first instrument it's a real testament to his ability that it's all so seamless. I interviewed Duncan eagles about the album and the playing and you can find it on the Edge of Jazz Mixcloud page. Very impressive!
"Flow" Drifter:Quite how this band ended up on Edition records is a story in itself, but the quality of the writing and playing makes it both easily accessible and also quite challenging. The quartet (with the exception of drummer Teun Verbruggen) wrote all the material and interplay between piano and saxophone is tight and interesting. It rewards repeated plays.
"Strata" Ivo Neame:Those familiar with his existing catalogue of work will find this an album that pushes some boundaries further out. Neame is joined by an interesting array of musicians including vibes player Jim Hart and sax player Tori Freestone. The result is an intriguing mixture of the unexpected and strong tunes, all written by Ivo himself. It's a fascinating expansion of boundaries, an indication of even more to come and a very enjoyable and satisfying album.
" Fist full of notes" Indigo Kid II:Quite why guitarist Dan Messore allowed this album to appear under a nom-de-plume is difficult to fathom. That it demonstrates a whole slew of differing facets of his outstanding ability and draws together an excellent group (which includes Trish Clowes on Tenor Sax in a much more relaxed frame of mind than on her recent album) is self-evident. It's a work that repays several listens, and hopefully presages more to come from the enigmatic guitar player.
"Welcome to my World" Joyce Elaine Yuell :Listeners will know my predilection for what used to be called soul, and when it's got elements of jazz added in, and contains such strong material it's likely to get heavy play on the show. The fact that it was recorded in Italy, with Italian musicians doesn't detract from the fact that this Cuban born singer has an excellent voice and some wonderful phrasing as well. All the material, irrespective of writers, is in English, and it's a wonderful antidote to all those (mainly British female singers) who claim to have 'soul'. Well worth a listen!
There will undoubtedly be more albums to pick from as the Christmas period approaches, but this year has been a particularly strong one for releases and long may it continue.