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John Fordham

Sten Sandell/Paal Nilssen-Love: Jacana review fearless jazz improv

(Rune Grammofon)Health and safety warning this is a completely improvised live set from the duo of Norwegian percussion volcano Paal Nilssen-Love and Swedish pianist Sten Sandell. Jacana, recorded at Norway's Kongsberg jazz festival last year, comprises

New York Standards Quartet: The New Straight Ahead review freshened up jazz standards

(Whirlwind)Most 21st-century jazz musicians still playing American Songbook material want to bring freshness and surprise to those old classics. The New York Standards Quartet do so with the sheer verve and character of their playing, rather than by deco

Tommy Andrews: The Crux review free-flowing, idiom-mingling debut

(Jellymould)Former Guildhall School saxophonist Tommy Andrews is only 25, but he's performed with the BBC Big Band, worked with Howard Goodall, and played sessions on The X Factor and with pop group McFly. All seven pieces here as different as the spacio

Noel Langley: Edentide review an open-minded master's solo debut

(Suntara)Noel Langley, the virtuoso crossover trumpeter, has played with stars Radiohead, Massive Attack and Adele to Michael Nyman and Graham Fitkin, and he's also a Loose Tubes member. As a jazz player, he has something of Kenny Wheeler's patient audaci

Pulcinella: Bestiole review wild but immaculately played jazz

(Yellowbird/Enja)Pulcinella are a variously hectic, painterly and atmospheric accordion- and sax-led quartet, and on this irrepressible set, they are augmented by trombone and mandolin. Bestiole suggests a kind of Gallic Led Bib, as fairground-roundabout

Tord Gustavsen Quartet: Extended Circles – review

Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen's quartet sounded discreetly funkier than formerly on their 2012 album, The Well, and another veil of that discretion is peeled off with Extended Circles – a delicious collage of hypnotic grooving, softly stroked gospel

Fred Hersch Trio: Floating review masterly if traditional piano jazz

(Palmetto) The work of Fred Hersch , the great American jazz pianist, is masterly but not fashionable he stays close to the tradition and loves lyrical songs. Nevertheless, the poise and sheen of his work always marks him out. This set, from his regular

Johnny Mbizo Dyani: Rejoice/Together CD review catchy songs and a party vibe

(Cadillac) Johnny Mbizo Dyani was a South African bassist and composer who came to London as an apartheid exile with his compatriots in the racially-mixed Blue Notes group in 1964, and played a key role in the creative impact they made on British jazz i

Andrew McCormack Trio: First Light CD review sleek, convincing postbop-influenced arrival

(Edition) Since he adopted New York, the British pianist Andrew McCormack has accelerated beyond the strengths he had already displayed in Britain through the noughties. He likes the postbop jazz tradition and isn't in thrall to any current piano persuasi

JC Sanford Orchestra: Views from the Inside forward-thinking swing jazz

(Whirlwind) Swing-based orchestral jazz long nourished by high-school bands, college courses and sponsorship in the US has taken longer to grow progressive hybrids in the music's first homeland. But with New York-based Darcy James Argue and now the youn