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John Fordham

Herbie Hancock: The Warner Bros Years review undistracted creativity

(Warner Bros)This three-CD set brings together all the music Herbie Hancock recorded for Warners between leaving Miles Davis in 1969 and the beginning of his hitmaking Headhunters period in 1972. When the Mwandishi sextet (which recorded the second of the

Ahmad Jamal/Yusef Lateef: Live at the Olympia review spirited and funky

The ways the former chart-topping pianist Ahmad Jamal develops variations on a song stick closely to a trusted and popular script: start with a catchy unrelated hook, slip the tune in stealthily, jam on it, swap licks with the drummers, come back to the h

Fire! Orchestra: Enter review overheated but powerful

(Rune Grammofon)Sweden's 28-piece Fire! Orchestra comprise jazz, improv and avant-rock players. They often sound like an exciting throwback to two cult manifestations of this kind of giant crossover lineup from earlier times: UK pianist Keith Tippett's 19

Susanna/Jenny Hval: Meshes of Voice review an exultant experience

(SusannaSonata)Norwegian singer/songwriter Susanna Wallumrød doesn't flinch from raw emotional realities, but she usually traverses them with a seraphic, pure-toned calm. Conversely, Jenny Hval (Susanna's compatriot, and a poet and novelist as well as o

Marius Neset/Trondheim Jazz Orchestra: Lion review intricately woven and exciting

Powerful young Norwegian saxophonist and composer Marius Neset is imminently due in the UK (leading the superb Trondheim Jazz Orchestra at Ronnie Scott's on 18 August), and the big-band gig will display this intricately woven, exciting music, written for

Tingvall Trio: Beat review lively but formulaic pop-jazz

(Skip Records)With their 2012 album Vagen, this internationally popular piano trio led by Swedish composer Martin Tingvall suggested that a genuinely interesting spin on the legacy of fellow-Swede Esbjörn Svensson was on the cards. But Beat feels like a

Nigel Price Organ Trio: Hit the Road review tribute to a smooth tradition

Nigel Price, the British jazz guitarist devoted to such late guitar heroes as Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, cruises through some classic themes and compatible originals with the fine pairing of Pete Whittaker on Hammond organ and Matt Home on drums.

Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity review music that blazes, uplifts and unnerves

(ESP-Disk)Albert Ayler was the 1960s African-American sax revolutionary whose vision for a new jazz sound expressed the rhythms and inflections of traditional street marches and spirituals through an uninhibitedly raw and searing tone that writer Amiri Ba

Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity review music that blazes, uplifts and unnerves

(ESP-Disk)Albert Ayler was the 1960s African-American sax revolutionary whose vision for a new jazz sound expressed the rhythms and inflections of traditional street marches and spirituals through an uninhibitedly raw and searing tone that writer Amiri Ba

Farmers By Nature: Love and Ghosts review breathtakingly fluent free jazz

(Alum Fidelity)This double set, recorded at two French concerts, is the third release from Farmers By Nature, the all-improv US trio of drummer Gerald Cleaver, bassist William Parker and pianist Craig Taborn. For improv listeners who like to hear jazz ro