Chris Gall and Mulo Francel: Mythos

Saxophonist Mulo Francel is well known (though not to us; we won’t pretend) for his work with platinum-selling jazz/world quartet Quadro Nuevo; Gall is a fifth member for live gigs. Kulturnews magazine credits Francel with the “most sensuous saxophone sound in Europe”. The idea of this album apparently began at the end of a hard […]

4WD: Live

4WD is a European jazz supergroup — Nils Landgren, Michael Wollny, Wolfgang Haffner and Lars Danielsson. All four members are bandleaders in their own right, hence the band name. The studio version came out earlier this year; they’ve toured it, got better and recorded it. Note it’s the band that’s live: this is not alive […]

Caravan Palace: Chronologic

Caravan Palace is a French electronic music band based in Paris. They play electro-swing, which is as it sounds; possibly more popular on the Continent than this side of La Manche. Electro-swing combines swing and jazz mixed with modern dance. It can be an acquired taste; Mr Scruff and Jurassic 5 have written electro-swing tracks. […]

David Helbock: Playing John Williams

Austrian jazz pianist David Helbock loves John Williams, as do we all (even if we don’t know it). Helbock’s problem is to make the music we know inside out sound fresh, and the music we don’t know sound interesting. As Helbock says, the music in the films is often “magnified onto a grand scale”, and […]

Paolo Fresu, Richard Galliano, Jan Lundgren: Mare Nostrum III

Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren and French accordionist Richard Galliano have joined together for a third album. Online reviews suggest vol one was better but we wouldn’t know; this is still good. The combination of instruments is unusual, which makes this hard to categorise. It’s calming and relaxing but we struggle with what we call the […]

Miguel Gorodi: Nonet Apophenia

Some of these reviews might ramble a bit but the PR that comes with them struggles even more, and this is a case in point. The apophenia of the title is erroneously making connections or meaning with unrelated things — a failing that can be seen all over social media — and one track was […]

Alex Hitchcock: All Good Things

This is one of those albums that’s hard to write about because you’re so into its meaty and interesting sound (and want to use words like hep and cats) that you can never write anything down. If you Google Hitchcock, he’s a man who loves his jazz, whether playing it or supporting other bands, and […]

Various Artists: Jazz At Berlin Philharmonic IX: Pannonica

Most definitely a CD for fans of class jazz, this is an enjoyable live set from some of the top European jazz players. The backstory is interesting: the concert paid tribute to the baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter. The concert was held on 6th February this year, 30 years after her death, and focused on pieces […]

Adam Baldych: Sacrum Profanum

Brexit, traffic noise, that shouty boss, arguing neighbours: if anything’s doing your head in, this may well be the answer; even the first few seconds rinse out the space between your ears. Polish violinist Baldych was once (say the release notes) hailed by a German newspaper as having “the finest technique among all living violinists […]

Gwilym Simcock: Near and Now

If you like piano and you like the late-night end of jazz, there’s nothing to dislike about this. Simcock is a world-class musician — his day job while he did this was touring with Pat Metheny’s quartet. He’s also playing a world-class instrument: for you piano-heads it’s a Steinway B from 1900, custom-rebuilt by Germans […]