Dave Holland – Prism (OKeh 88883721802)
delivers pure, unalloyed pleasure for all of its 70 minutes.
TOP TEN (in alphabetical order)
John Abercrombie Quartet – 39 Steps (ECM 374 2710)
Both Abercrombie and Copland are unhurried, thoughtful players, their solos impeccably tasteful but surprisingly robust
Chris Biscoe Profiles Quartet – Live at Campus West (Trio Records TR591)
…his [Biscoe’s] unassuming, learned demeanour belying a soloist of passionate (and unfailingly inventive) intensity
Blue Touch Paper – Drawing Breath (Provocateur Records PVC 1043)
absorbing, often viscerally exciting album
Liane Carroll – Ballads (Quiet Monet Recordings QMR0002CD)
eschewing the vocal pyrotechnics that disfigure so much contemporary balladry, Carroll’s singing wrings the heart in a manner achieved by a precious few
Nathan Haines – The Poet’s Embrace (Warner Jazz HAVENCD004/2564854344)
a lush, occasionally downright sumptuously sensuous sound
Julia Hülsmann Quartet – In Full View (ECM 371 7777)
the quartet, throughout this utterly absorbing and consistently engaging album, constantly pull off small miracles of mutual sensitivity and poetic creativity.
Joe Lovano UsFive – Cross Culture (Blue Note 509996 38761 2 3)
A hugely ambitious but stunningly realised album from a great master.
The Swallow Quintet – Into the Woodwork (XtraWATT 279 8380)
Swallow’s stellar band address his often deceptively simple-sounding themes with wry wit, exquisitely tasteful vigour and carefully calibrated control
Craig Taborn Trio – Chants (ECM 372 4543)
often relatively complex, tricksy affairs with subtly shifting rhythmic emphases and unusual melodies
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