Monday 20 December 2021

Edge of Jazz Top Ten releases 2021: Five to One.

As I stress every year, this list is a series of personal choices. It's about albums tht I've enjoyed playing on the show, rather than thinking about the choices that have been made by other writers/bloggers and reviewers about what they have liked. Every year I can think of several albums that have been released to critical acclaim, but which, for one reason or another I have felt less than enthusiastic about. This year is no different!

5. "En attendant " - Marcin Wasilewski Trio.

There can be few trios that have been playing together as Marcin Wasilewski's. This album dras on a huge range of sources from Carla Bley to The Doors, from J.S. Bach to trio compositions and just one Wasilewski piece, "Glimmer of Hope". The result is a gloriously balanced programme from a trio who meld together to play a (largely) beautifully understated performance. There's a trio of tunes, spread out across the album entitled "In Motion"[1,2,& 3]. My favourite remains the Doors "Riders on the Storm" which dispenses with the urgency and drive of the original to produce something wonderfully 'other-wordly'. It helps that the whole set is so beautifully recorded by Manfred Eicher, in a French recording studio.   

4. "Wes reimagined" - Nigel Price Organ Trio.

Nigel Price has been a guest on the show. That's not the reason that this makes number 4 - that's because it's his best presented and most coherent album to date. It also contains a list of guests that lift it above the 'organ trio format'. Not that the other two members of the trio, Ross Stanley and Joel Barford aren't excellent - they are a great foil for Price's great guitar playing, but add Snowboy, Vasili  Xenopoulos, and especially Tony Kofi into the mix and the sound created lifts the opportunities to expand, especially as there's also  a 'smidge' of strings arranged by Callum Au. The versions of the Wes Montgomery tunes (and Monk, his brother) are lifted way beyond any crticisms of clones to a new height. 

3. "Close your eyes" - Lionel Loueke.

A very late arrival, and one that I'm not sure has much to do with 2021 - I read a review by Mike Hobart in the 'Financial Times' earlier this year which led me on a hunt for it. I eventually found it had been released by Sounderscore Records from New York, and the copyright is from 2021 - even though the album appears to have been recorded in 2018. I sent off to the address I was given and about four months afterwards it came through the post. This too is a trio guitar album, but the other contributors Reuben Rogers on Accoustic Bass and Eric Harland on drums are in complete sympathy with what Loueke does - namely revisit a set of 'standards' bothshow tunes and jazz classics. From Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael and on to Wayne Shorter, via two Thelonious Monk tracks and two John Coltrane tracks the playing is flawless, each of them adding something to the versions that I was previously familiar with. Try and find it, and listen to what I mean.

2. "Samara Joy" - Samara Joy.

Rumour has it that this album was originally self-funded, but picked up by Whirlwind Records in Britain. Whatever the truth behind the story she has an amazing voice, and was the winner of the 2019 Sarah Vaughan vocal competition. Producar Matt Pierson has assembled a really empathetic trio of musicians, the highlight of which is the equisite guitar playing of Pasquale Grasso, who lends a really vital contributon to the overall sound of the album. The tunes are mainly 'statndards', but each given a unique treatment. It's to be hoped that for a follow up album she might get to extend the range of song sources, but as a debut this is the best female vocalist album of 2021. In the meantime do have a listen to this great debut.

1.  "Future Stride" - Emmet Cohen.

With a nod to tunes by Duke Ellington and Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart, and one in public domain,  seven of the tracks on this album are self-writtten. Add the undoubted virtuousity of Cohen and this has been the album that I've played the most during the course of this difficult year. It's full of great playing and unusual and unexpected turns. Backed by a trio of Russell Hall on bass and Kyle Poole on drums, but added to by Maquis Hall on trumpet and Melissa Aldana on sax, the emphasis is on Cohens tunes and playing. If you play "You already know" you'll get a taste of what the whole album is about, and you'll undoubtedly want to listen to the whole set. Mack Avenue Records from whence this came expect to release a follow up during 2022 - and I can't wait!

Two that could have/should have:

There are always several albums that stay in contention until the final decision has to be made, and these two, far from being 'the best of the rest' are an indication of how far "The Edge of Jazz" looks to find tracks/albums that haven't received much/any mainstream air time.

"Stepping up" - Simply this Quintet.

A first. A listener recommendation led me to this!  Recorded by a group of students from the University of Illinois, a double sax led band that play their way through a set of self-written material. Eventually tracked down through Bandcamp, it came highly recommended from a listener in Chacago (who I'm certain had nothing to do with the band.). It really is a joyful listen, and I'm keeping an eye of their media channels to hope that it's not simply a one-off. Worth chcking out (and then buying!)

"Secret Night Gang" - Secret Night Gang.

Kate Gamm, who does a show that precedes mine on the first Tuesday of the month", and I exchanged ideas about who this Manchester based band sounded like. We traded names like 'Earth Wind & Fire' , 'The Ohio Players' and early Kool and the Gang, and then decided that they sounded particularly British!
It's a splendid example of how far the Edge of Jazz stretches, as it's undoubtedly funky, but with a sound that stretches into jazz territory. If you have't heard them yet, do try to. All things being equal (why should they be?) I'll catch up with them in Manchester in the early months of 2022.

Monday 13 December 2021

Edge of Jazz Top Ten Releases 2021. 

Eventually this turned out to be just as difficult as in any 'normal' year! 2021 wasn't/hasn't been by any stretch of the imagination ordinary in any way, with release dates being announced, changed and often withdrawn. So there are a couple of releases that probably would have made it onto this list, but in the case of two of them they're pencilled in for February 2022. Watch next years list!

 10. "The News" - Andrew Cyrille Quartet:

Andrew Cyrille is the drummer on this set. He's probably one of the least 'showy' drummers working today, and this album showcases what he does best, sitting in with a first class band, recorded, brilliantly  by Rick Kwan in New York City. Cyrille contributes three of the tracks, but he's backed by an-star band with Bill Frissell on guitar, David Virelles on piano and synthesizer and Ben Street on Double Bass. Frizzel contributes three songs, Virelles two and the other is the Steve Colson tune 'Leaving East of Java'.
The result is a beautifully laid back set in which all the participants get to contribute to the sum of the whole. This is not a 'showy' album, but rather beutifully session that demands repeated attention.

9. "It's all your fault" - Mike LeDonne Big Band & Groover Quartet.

Entirely new to me - though not to several people that I spoke to who had been to see him in New York. As far as I can tell his last recording was in 2006, so this came to me out of the blue and highly recommded, and it's a lttle gem. It's split into three Groover Quartet tracks and five Big Band tracks.The Quartet is Eric Alexander on Tenor Sax, Joe Farnsworth on drums & Peter Bernstein on guitar, all of whom play in the Big Band. LeDonne himself on (probably) B3 is the sort or organ player who sits back, rather than sitting in front of the mix. It's an album that I confess I'd never have found myself, but it's really grown on me, and although I started with the quartet tracks, the Big band tracks have a lot to give.
Give it a listen!

8. "Squint" - Julian Lage.

You can't go on being a youthful prodigy for ever, and this album sees Lage coming of age with a new label (Blue Note) and a much more defined sound as a leader than some of his previous outings.It's a trio outing, and fairly laid back for the most part. Dave King plays drums and Jorge Roeder plays bass, but it's Lage who is the front man, having written all the tracks bar one - "Emily". It's the sort of album that requires several listens before it starts to reveal its layered depths. Don't expect guitar histrionics - because Lage isn't that sort of guitarist, but it's really satisfying and has been late night listening since its release.

7. "Night Owl" - Nick Hempton Quartet.

I feel slightly guilty about this, and a couple of the other albums that appear on this years list, in the same way as I used to feel bad about playing white label pre-releases sent to me by companies during the 70's and 80's, however that's all the apology you'll get, because like those this album deserves wider recognition. You can get a copy from He's a hard blowing tenor sax player from New York, sometime habituee of "Small's Jazz Club" who has released a slew of albums over the last few years - all self promoted - but this is the best. It's a Hammond based quartet with the advantage of Peter Bernstein on guitar, and a mixture of standard and self written material. If you doubt that the word "groove" still applies to jazz today - this is the antidote.

6. "Friends with Monsters" - Nishla Smith.

Part of a thriving Manchester based scene, that also brought me Emma Johnson's Gravy Boat and Silent Night Gang. this album is as left field a vocal album as I've come across this year, and was a late arrival from Whirlwind Records. The songs are all self -writtenn, apart from "It might as well be Spring" and the band, also mostly Manchester based are suitably esoteric in their backing of her songs. Perhaps seeing her live might allow her to unravel some of the content of the songs, but they are marvellously diverse in approach and subject. Watch out for some of the trumpet playing of Aaron Wood, but mostly revel in a performer and songwiter who isn't copying anybody elses style and providing some wonderfully diverting listening. 

The top five and two that nearly made it will appear next week!

Friday 10 December 2021

2021 - A new category!

This year has been extraordinary for re-releases, and having received (or purchased) quite a lot of material that hasn't been available for a long time, either on CD or vinyl I thought it only appropriate to start new category. Given the enormous out-pouring of revived material from Blue Note Records in particular I've though long an hard about how many to choose, and I decided, because this is a new category that this year I'd limit it to three. This made it very difficult - and in the end excluded some of the recordings that, perhaps, in another year would have made it. The Blue Note material that came closest to inclusion were Dexter Gordan's "One flight up" which originally came out in 1964 and McCoy Tyner's "Expansions" from 1968, but in the end neither made it - though some of the releases promised for 2022 must be in line to make the cut at the end of the year.
   Incidentally I've wondered along the way how much some of the material they've re-released was ever bought in the UK - probably, I guess, only by collectors and avid Blue Note philes!
  Finally, before I list the chosen three a word for "John Coltrane - Live in Seattle", which I found extremely disappointing, badly mixed and with ambient crowd noise, with McCoy Tyner on top form, but too little Coltrane - go back to the original!

3. "Merci Miles-live at Vienne" - Miles Davis.

A good indication of where Miles Davis was heading in 1991. Some extended tracks especially 'Hannibal', written by Marcus Miller, and a couple of Prince written tracks, all driven along by a two bass player band with Kenny Garrett on sax and Deron Johnson on keyboards, fluently led by some wonderful improvisation by Miles Davis. Yes, it's rough round the edges on some tracks, but for the most part it swaggers, and it picks up where the Warner studio albums might have been headed if the band had been given the space to expand into the space they find here. I guess, it's a 'marmite' album, and not what early and middle period Miles fans will want to hear, but for me a really great re-release (if any of it was ever released by a major label before!).

2. "Groovin' at Small's Paradise" - Jimmy Smith.

My original (second hand) copy of Volume 2 on vinyl has just about expired as a useful album to play, and I never owned Volume 1. How wonderful, therefore to find almost all of both volumes on  CD - it actually omits "Imagination" because of the limitations of the single CD format. Nonetheless it's really rewarding to sit down nad hear and soak up the atmosphere that was created by the trio. Eddie McFadden on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums, are an integral part of the overall ambience, but it's Smith and his B3 who burn throughout this 1957 session. Congraulations to Jazz Image Records (Spanish based, I think) for the repackaging and the information provided by the packaging. It's an album that I've say down and listened to in its entireity several times and the only word I can use to describe it is 'burning'.

1. "The Montreux Years" - Nina Simone.

Given what I've written elsewhere not, I would imagine, a great surprise!  Parts of this have been released on the French Barclay label, but nothing as much as this wonderful BMG compilation two CD set. CD 2 is given over to a fairly seamless concert, one in which Simone built the audience from relative apathy to a heightened climax - there are even tracks omitted from this 1968 recording that appear on CD1. CD 1 also has tracks from her appearances at the 1976, 1981,1987 and 1990 performances. Probably the 1976 tracks are the finest, but given the relative poverty of some of the recent Nina Simine re-releases, this one eclipses them all. The set is copiously annotated and together they give a great impression of an artist working hard with an audeince, and in places with versions that somehow exceed the best of other studio based recordings.
Essential listening!

For details of what has made my Top 10 albums of 2021, come back here soon - they'll be revealed 5 at a time!

Monday 22 November 2021

 It's coming up that time of the year where I start to think about compiling my Top 10 albums of the year. This year I may have to alter the format. Yes, there are 10 albums that currently fulfil the loosely based criteria that I use each year (strange that my Top 10 seldom co-incides with anybody elses!). However, as well as those new releases it's also been a rather splendid year for re-releases, or releases of material that has either never, or seldom befoe been in the public domain.

   One example will suffice. 

Nina Smone: The Montreux Years.

Recent Nina Simone re-releases have often (in my opinion) beeen rather sub-standard example of what she was about. The album "Fodder on my wings" has always felt rather laboured, as if compiled from material that happened to have remained unreleased fom her less productive periods of work, or one of her periods of crisis.This had come out previously on the French 'Carrere' label, and had not improved with age, particularly as notes for it were sketchy and incomplete.
It therefore came as a huge and delightful suprise to find a double album of material I'd mostly never heard before, played at her consumate best, and with one performance albeit edited) almost in its entirity.
So should I include it in a Top 10 best of the year? As I've got at least 15 albums that are vying for a space in the Top 10 I've decided that year I'm going to add a new category - "Significant re-releases' which as this is the first year will comprise of three albums which will get chosen from the current list of seven.
 In previous years I made the mistake of starting to comile the Top ten at the start of December, but a couple of years running that premise has been shattered by having late releases that disturb my carefully manicured lists. This year I've set aside a date and a time to lock myself into my study and produce the Top 10 and the Top 3 re-releases in one sitting. As ever (and mentioned elsewhere in this short blog) I doubt that my lists will have much to do with the choice of other critics, but it's also fascinating (to me at any rate) to see where there is some overlap.
  Finally, I ought to mention that I have contemplated a short section in 'the awards' for albums that I've dug out of the crates to play, and recognised how good they are. As examples, this year I'd be including albums by Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner and Eddie Harris. Jazz always seems to have something to give!

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Amongst all the excitement about new (and old) releases;

..I somehow forgot to mention that Phonic FM is part of a group that applied for (and has now been granted) a licence to broadcast on SSBAB+ (small scale digital audio broadcasting plus). Our partners are Radio Exe, Riviera FM ( who broadcast to Torbay), Ashley Jeary (currently the main anchor on Radio Exe) and Lisa England who works out of Liverpool. It's early days, and we're still at the stage of finalising the exact area that we're going to broadcast to, though it should raise the potential audience to somewhere in excess of 300,000. It's an exciting prospect, but that means a lot of hard work by the Board (of which I'm Chair), and lots of decisions to make, as well as fundamental thinks like getting Ofcom (our regulator) to finally agree the fine detail of the area that we're going to cover.
  The stations will be broadcast from a multiplex that should be able to accommodate 25 stations. It's evident from the level of interest that we're already had that not all the stations are going to be broadcasting out of Exeter, but there are three other slots for holders of C-DSP licenses (basically small scale broadcasters which/who fulfil certain criteria) that will provide uniquely local services. The main question that I've had to try and answer so far is "When will you be on-air?". It's probably the most uncertain thing about the whole undertaking, and it may be dangerous to write here a potential launch date, however I'll boldly suggest the start of March  2022 - whilst reserving the write to follow up this blog with an list of excuses as to why we're no longer going to adhere to that date!
 Questions already raised by Phonic listeners include:

1.Will you continue to broadcast on FM?

Put simply the answer is 'yes'. We're aware that a large number of people still listen on FM frequencies, and although all new cars now have DAB radios fitted as standard ( and most have DAB+) we still have a lot of listeners who use FM (and prefer the sound to that of DAB)

2. Will you continue to be a 'no adverts - no playlist staion?'

Again the answer is 'yes'. We will be incurring higher charges broadcasting on DAB+, but we're hoping to offset this by running more events that raise money for the station, and although nothing has been set in stone we shall be looking for possible sponsors for individual shows. More news on this as we move towards 'on-air' time.

3. I live in Thorverton, will I be able to pick up your DAB+ signal?

We're still in discussion with Ofcom, and our chosen installers about aerial sites, so the area we aim to cover isn't set in stone. How far we reach with the signals will be completely dependent on a range of issues that at the moment we're still resolving. Expect a press release from the station as soon as issues like this have been resolved.

In the meantime, and awsre that there will be other questions I'd suggest that you direct them at me at and I'll try to answer them as soon as possible.

Monday 2 August 2021

It's still a strange year!

Until a couple of weeks ago I was complaining to myself about the lack of new releases that were becoming available. Understandable in as much as most artists rely on working in close proximity to other performers as well as having sessions supervised by a producer, and that hasn't been possible, except in exceptional circumstances. To counter balance this a lot of the large companies have been digging in the crates to find "unreleased material" and that's where I'll start this review of what's been released, before then moving on to some of the new stuff that seems to have appeared in abundance during the last couple of months.

Miles Davis: Merci Miles! Live at Vienne.

NOT the Miles you might expect from his classic period(s)- this is Miles stretching out with a completely new band, that includes Kenny Garrett on Sax and Deron Johnson on keyboards. There are a series of very long tracks ('Human nature' clocks in at 18:02) and a couple of Prince penned songs . Overall on the double CD set there are just 8 tracks. It's a fascinating insight into the ideas that were driving him on in this relatively late period of his career. Whether you like it or not, I guess, depends on the realtionship that you have with his recording with his two classic bands. Overall, after a lot of listening I like this.

Nina Simone: The Montreux Years.

Collected from the private collection of Claude Nobs, the organiser of the festival this 2 CD set contains in CD2 a single performance in full from 1976. It's essential listening, if only to hear a consumate performer win-over an audience that, at the outset seems indifferent. It needs to be listened to in whole, not just parts. CD1 contains a mixture of material from other years (including another couple of tracks from 1976)  in which she mixes her 'hits' with some items from across the rest of her catalogue. . It's a set that anyone vaguely interested in her artistry ought to own, if only to banish any lingering doubts about her ability as a live performer.

Jimmy Smith: Groovin' at Smalls Paradise (Volumes 1&2)

Somewhere along the way I lost both my vinyl copies of these albums, and doubted that they'd ever return. The Spanish label Jazz Images has re-released them (all but 'Imagination' which wouldn't fit onto a CD that runs out at 79 minutes of recorded sound) and it's been worth the wait. It's Smith stretching out in a late night club setting with some amazing support from Eddy Mcfadden on guitar and Donald Bailey on drums. If forced to pick my favourite tracks I'd go for the opener 'After hours' and 'Slightly Monkish'. . The Penguin Guide to jazz rates this as probably the best ever Smith album - some claim for someone so prolific - but it must be up there because of its sheer vitality and drive.

Then there are the new releases!

Julian Lage: Squint.

Prior to this album, I've always thought that Lage has never really fulfilled his undoubted talent on records. A move to Blue Note seems to have rectified that situation. All but two of the tracks are self written and mostly the tracks are in trio settings or Lage playing solo. The result is a wonderully laid back album that has given up more with repeated listenings. Dave King on Drums and Jorge Roeder on bass are unobtrusive but meld well with (largely laid back ) approach that Lage has demonstarted on this album.

Dave McMurray: Grateful Deadication.

Who'd have thought that the Grateful Dead would provide such fertile ground for a jazz album? This rifle through the extensive catalogue of Dead music led me back to the original albums, and to discover that McMurray has realised a whole gamut of sound that was lurking within.My favourite tracks are "Dark Star" - not just because bettye LaVette has added vocals, but also because Bob Weir appears on the track - "Franklin's Tower" has McMurray on baritone, and the longest track "Touch of Grey" is a great reminder of how great composer Jerry Garcia could be. If you're unfamiliar with " The Dead" this ought to lead you back to the originals!

Samara Joy: Samara Joy.

Just once in a while a set of "standards" rises above the average and this is just such an album. Winner of the 2019 Sarah Vaughan vocal prize, Sanara Joy has the kind of voice that stands out from the rest of a very crowded field. The album orginally appears to have been crowd funded, and if that is the case then full marks to the producer (Matt Pierson) for putting together such an empathetic backing group, and especially for commissioning Pasquale Grasso to undertake the guitar work. The album is a mixture of 'obvious' stadards but also a couple that mark out a nod to Sarah Vaughan, but also a memory of the nat King Cole Trio. Not normally my kind of stuff, but I realy like this.

Monday 17 May 2021

Notes from a wet May

 It's about this time of year that I start noting the albums that have been released during the current year that I've particularly enjoyed. 2021 being what it is it's not been a normal year for releases. Not only has it been a period of lock down, but here in south-west England the weather has been, to say the least haphazard with a very dry April and (so far ) an incredibly wet May. If you look at the release schedules for albums you'll notice that record companies keep on changing the dates of new releases on a regular basis. I've also been playing tracks that were (supposedly) been released during 2020, but have only now reached me. Rather confusing! However these are the starting five, all of which have definitely been released during 2021, and present as diverse an approach to 'jazz' as it would be possible to find.

Emmet Cohen - Future stride.

It's based around a basic trio of drums (Kyle Poole), Bass ( Russel Hall) and Cohen himself on piano. Several of the tracks have trumpet Marquis Hill) and Melissa Aldana (Tenor sax). The tunes are a mixture of old (one from 1919 ) Rogers and hart and Duke Ellington and other are self composed. Stride is a piano style that requires a specific left hand technique, and Cohen finds many ways of adapting the style to the range of music that he's chosen. The album is full of variation and an enormous sense of fun, and his piano playing isn't the only time he occurs on this brief list. Highly recommended.

Nubiyan Twist - Freedom Fables.

A nine or ten pice band that have taken elelments of the jazz styles of the emergent London jazz scene and harnessed it a more afro centric kind of style, with a punchy horn section. They're going to be doing a huge tour later in the year, as well as playing at WOMAD. The album displays a range of facets of their playing from a track with Soweto Kinch together with a wide range of (guest?) vocalists. Actually it's really hard to pigeon hole their style, which is probably why it fits so well into 'The Edge of Jazz'

Shai Maestro - Human.

An Israeli pianist with a distinctive style, and a strong and cohesive Trio. There are a range of styles in his largely self composed album for ECM. The one cover is Duke Ellington's 'In a sentimental mood'. There are a range of tempo's and the recording quality is superb. What makes it even more impressive is the trumpet playing of Philip Dizack. His controlled tone suits the album superbly, and this is certainly the best recording of his work that I've heard. It's not an album to sit down and get into right away, but after many listens it's still giving me an increasing sense of satifaction and enjoyment.

Veronica Swift - This bitter earth.

Her fifth album - although she's only 24, and the second for Mack Avenue. The selection of songs are representative of a feminist view of the world through songs. . There's a basic trio backing her (Emmet Cohen makes his second appearance of this list) with a string quartet on some of the ttracks and a rather wonderful version of cCarole King's " He hit me (and it felt like a kiss)" which has a guitar accompanyment by Armand Hirsch. The choice is, to say the least, eclectic, but her voice is wonderful throughout.Worth seeking out.

Vijay Iyer - Uneasy.

I think this is the third Vijay Iyer album on ECM. I very much liked the lat one 'Far from over' but the trio on this new album is the strongest that he's recorded with. The very much in demand bass player Linda May Han Oh gives the set a very much fulller sound and the drummer Tyshawn Sorey uses the whole of what must be a very large kit to great effect. All but two of the tracks are Iyer originals, with a Cole Porter tune and one by Geri Allen to complete the set. Like the maestro album mentioned above the recording quality is amazing, and if you can afford it, think about splashing out on the vinyl version. Again, not an immediate album, but one that I've been playing more and more.

Friday 19 March 2021

More jazzy thoughts - from a strange year.

 As everybody else is likely to have said "it's been a strange old year", not that, at the time of writing, we're by any means clear of the restrictions that we've endured for the last year. Nonetheless, after staying at home, and catching up on all the things that 'you always meant to do' (most of mine are still unfinished - though at the time of writing, two of them have been completed, whether to my complete satisfaction remains to be seen!)

Luckily, after several 'home recorded' shows I've finally got back into the studio and it's been a real relief to discover that it's all still working. Actually for my colleagues, when they back to work (hopefully around 29th March) they're going to find that they're on a learning curve because during the lockdown an entirely updated playout system has been installed. Any certainty that they might have had about finding cherished drop-ins or 'tuneage' on the system are going to need review because although a lot of what was on the old system is till there it's all been moved during the change-over. Thus I've been finding favourite things that I use during the shows have been scattered to odd corners of the system. In the most extreme case 11,645 places away from where it used to be. We will, of course be able to give instruction, although in the first place, and probably until late May, it'll have to be on a one-to-one basis. At this point I ought to thank Ian and Tom who worked through the lock-down (remotely!) to make the switch.

So far then, not a lot of jazz! For jazz musicians, and particularly at a local level it's been a really difficult year. One player who made a living from jazz and lives locally told me that his last 'live' gig was March 10th 2020. It's also evident that many tours have had to be re-arranged, often not just once or twice, but up to three times. Let's hope that when those tours take place they are well supported. This also had a strange effect on CD releases which have also in many cases had their release dates moved several times. At the time of writing I'm still waiting for four albums that should have appeared during February - but haven't! There also appears to have been problems with CD manufacture, which for the largest labels is now done, more likely than not, somewhere in Europe. I don't thank the UK's status change has helped with distribution!

Next time I'll write more specifically about some of the albums (old and new) that I've enjoyed, or in some cases rediscovered during 2021.

Stay safe!