Kilian Kemmer Trio: Und Zarathustra Tanzte

The album is inspired by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (Dr Kemmer has a PhD in philosophy), with Thus Spake Zarathustra a philosophical novel penned by Herr Nietzsche, containing ideas about the Übermensch, the death of God, the will to power, and eternal recurrence. Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, was an ancient Iranian prophet who founded what […]

Mulo Francel and Nicole Heartseeker: Forever Young

To call this easy on the ear would be like calling monsoons slightly damp or space slightly big: it’s really easy to listen to. The gist of is it that “globetrotting saxophonist” (cf the Press notes) Mulo Francel, part of jazz-world group Quadro Nuevo, has teamed up with classically-trained pianist Nicole Heartseeker to “cast a […]

Sakina Abdou, Barbara Dang, Peter Orins: Lescence / Gmatique

We’ve had this on the books a while but it’s an oddball; with Circum-Disc sending us some more new jazz, we thought we’d have a go. We’ve had some Peter Orins before and it was recognisably jazz, as in when you play the piano you get piano noises. Not so here. The trio play sax, […]

Unk: Now

The PR from French label Circum-Disc opens by saying “We don’t really know how to pronounce _Unk” – obviously they say it “On ne sait pas vraiment comment…” and talks about “progressive, sometimes experimental” jazz, which always makes us nervous. This is not helped by the album opening with the drummer hitting something metallic, possibly […]

Zbigniew Seifert: Live Recordings 1973 and 1976

We once went to see an Yves Klein exhibition. He started off painting things all one colour, a most pointless activity a philistine might suggest, but the experimentation ended up with him developing ideas for designing housing estates, a clear learning curve from abstract to practical. We were reminded of that with this, the first […]

More Soma: Hondendodendans

This is jazz for those of you like the experimental, free composition, improvisation and the downright weird. The More Soma trio comprises a saxophone, alternately alto or baritone, double bass and drums; a couple of the players featured on the more tuneful _Unk album we reviewed recently. This is the debut More Soma album and […]

My Grito presents … Mas Alto! A Charity Compilation

This is in a good cause and is a more-than-decent album. The cause: sadly not a local one but still good: the album is raising cash for No Us Without You, a US charity providing food security for undocumented back-of-house staff and their families. “Undocumented hospitality workers are the backbone of the hospitality industry,” says […]

Mulo Francel: Crossing Life Lines

As the artist, we’ve got to give Francel the benefit of the motivation behind this album (which is noble): the German saxophonist, clarinettist and composer was touring the Czech Republic and Poland, and met loads of nice people, leaving him wondering how he could personally deal with the suffering caused by his grandfathers’ generation? Did […]

Chris Gekker: Moon Marked

Chris Gekker is one of America’s most acclaimed trumpet players, and currently professor of trumpet at the University of Maryland. This is his second album for Metier, recordings of works by six composers. Given his academic role, this programme of music could come over as dryly technical it does not, thanks to the warmth of […]

Millicent B James: Moyo, Vol.1 EP

Releases by local bands always make us nervous; if they’re no good, what do we say? Sadly for everyone else, this new EP from Biddolphian Millicent sets a new benchmark: it’s wonderful. She’s is not a novice: a composer, cellist and vocalist, she regularly sings with the RBC Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra and RBC Jazz […]