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John Fordham

Manu Katché: Live in Concert review warm, engaging and melodic

The magnetic French-African drummer Manu Katchés music an amalgam of subtle world-grooves, glimpses of 1960s Blue Note jazz-funk, Scando-ambience and Miles Davis postbop - can sound cooler and more reserved than might be expected from a long-time rock

John Surman and Bergen Big Band: Another Sky review warmth creative patience

(Grappa)British saxophonist and composer John Surman is due to perform these orchestral pieces (reflecting this fine artists deep roots in English folk-song and classical music as well as straight-ahead jazz) with Norways Bergen Big Band at the EFG London

Jason Moran/Meshell Ndegeocellos All Rise: A Joyful Elegy review gripping tribute to Fats Waller

(Blue Note)Contemporary makeovers of the hits of classic-jazz legends can make you want to run for cover, but this celebration of the 1930s swing legacy of Thomas Fats Waller comes from a credible source: the incisive mind and cutting-edge methods of awa

Stefano Bollani: Joy in Spite CD review warmly expressive jazz

(ECM)When the Italian virtuoso Stefano Bollani plays piano, the word play applies in its widest senses, and the title of this fine transatlantic session (Americans Bill Frisell and Mark Turner augment Bollanis Danish rhythm section) could hardly be a bet

Gascoyne/OHiggins Quartet CD review expert classic jazz-making

(Jazzizit)The UKs Jazzizit label released the first part of the Real Note collection of postbop/swing pieces from bassist Geoff Gascoynes and saxist Dave OHigginss band last year, and the followup is just as good at reworking familiar jazz materials as ne

Harry Sokal: Depart Refire CD review the kind of dynamic jazz that creates converts

For anyone familiar with Swiss label Intakt’s frequently cutting-edge output, this trio set by Austrian saxophonist Harry Sokal might seem indecently funky.

Louis Moholo-Moholo Unit: For the Blue Notes review fiery jazz tribute

(Cadillac)Septuagenarian South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo is the last survivor of the mixed-race Blue Notes group, who were exiled to Europe by apartheid in the 1960s; true to his improv instincts and openness, he continues to celebrate their las

Darius Jones/Matthew Shipp: The Darkseid Recital review affecting and occasionally scary

(AUM Fidelity)The American pianist Matthew Shipp regularly forges good relationships with players of comparably implacable robustness, despite an approach that's combative as often as it's cordial. The other half of this duo is young New York alto saxopho

Al Jarreau: My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke review a classy tribute

Long before he became an R&B, soul, disco and jazz virtuoso respected by all sides, Al Jarreau was a San Francisco social worker who sang jazz as a sideline but a 1965 jam with rising young pianist George Duke at the Half Note club changed his life, and

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