Terence Blanchard ‘The Comedian’ (Blue Note) 4/5

The music serves as the backdrop to the film soundtrack directed by Taylor Hackford and is worthy of your undivided attention in its own right since it includes a stellar line-up of musicians comprising Kenny Barron on piano, Ravi Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Carl Allen on drums and David Pulphus on acoustic bass as well as the leader on trumpet.
What makes this such an enjoyable listening experience is the unorthodox approach to essentially bop-influenced music. There is an absence of cliché and, at times, a brief incursion into freer form, though never straying to far away from melody. On the high speed, ‘Electricity’, the rhythm section operates in full flow. Barron is in his element on the trio-based number, ‘Kenny gets out’, with delightful interplay between pianist and bassist. Another winner of a tune is, ‘Jackie’s lament’, which has a gentle waltz-like groove with a lovely warm tenor solo from Coltrane, excellent use of unison horns and in general a slightly blues-inflected ambience. The whole quintet are in relaxed mode on, ‘Deli to soup kitchen’, which is notable for some inventive drum licks.

Blanchard is a film composer of some vintage having composed for George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey and not forgetting his lengthy collaborative work with Spike Lee. His lengthy tenure with the Blue Note labels stretches back well over a decade with, ‘Flow’ from 2005 and especially, ‘A tale of God’s will’, from 2007 stand out recordings.

Tim Stenhouse

Youn Sun Nah ‘She Moves On’ (ACT) 3/5

A new name to some, South Korean vocalist Youn Sun Nah has made a name for herself in her native land and was featured at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. She has now settled in France and has soaked up myriad influences including pop and folk (she sounds as though she has listened intently to Kate Bush among others), as well as American folk and jazz. Strictly speaking, her voice is not that of a jazz vocalist, but rather that of a pop singer with a jazz and folk sensibility with crossover potential, and that is clearly where her strengths lie. Accompanied by some seriously talented jazz musicians including bassist Brad Jones and guitarist Marc Ribot, the music works best on re-readings of folk-rock classics such as the on the edge interpretation of, She moves on’, originally composed by Paul Simon. Equally compelling is the kalimba-led intro to, ‘Black is the color of my true love’s hair’. Here, the pared down sound works wonders and is the kind of repertoire that compliments her voice best. There is both intimacy and warmth to the sensitive instrumental accompaniment, and while the phrasing is a little odd in parts, there is no doubting that the vocalist can sing and it is no mean feat for someone with so different a mother tongue to express herself in the English language.

Ideally, one would like to hear Sun Nah attempt some of the French chanson tradition also and she has already attracted widespread interest there with 150,000 record sales to date. Youn Sun Nah will be performing at Ronnie Scott’s on May 31.

Tim Stenhouse

Verneri Pohjola ‘Pekka’ 2LP/CD/DIG (Edition) 5/5

Verneri Pohjola is a new name to me and, I suspect, to many readers. The trumpeter and composer hails from Finland. He has released two previous albums on the prestigious ACT label (one of these garnered a five star review from The Guardian) and another on Edition, ‘Bullhorn‘, from 2015 which received the Uk Vibe stamp of approval. Pohjola having signed to the British Editions label is sure to become very familiar to all in the coming months, aided by the release of his latest album.
As with its Scandinavian neighbours, Finland seems steeped in a very lyrical style of jazz. Pohjola reinforces this with the deeply affecting purity of tone. Melody is key to his music, both in his playing and in his compositions, which linger long in the memory of the listener.
This latest album is available as a double LP in gatefold packaging, as a digital album, or as a conventional CD. It reinterprets the music of Verneri’s late father, the acclaimed prog-rock bassist and composer, Pekka Pohjola. Verneri uses his skills as a trumpeter to blend “raw emotion, technical finesse and control” and is able to tread the often difficult path between “accessibility and the avant-garde”.

Alongside the leader’s trumpet are Fender Rhodes, guitar, bass and drums. The music spans two decades of his father’s output and Pohjola has found the process of rediscovering and recording the music “an emotional and therapeutic exercise”.
The album opens with ‘Dragon’ and is delightfully melodic and evocative. Pohjola producing that familiar, breathy, ethereal trumpet sound, aided by pulsating bass and almost otherworldly keyboard and guitar sounds. Then, just three minutes into the theme, an altogether more urgent and aggressive sound emerges, alternating with the more melodic cadences of the song.
‘First Morning’ is next which gives guitarist and drummer a chance to shine. There is also a nice feature for the keyboard player.

‘Inke and Me’ is different again, more thoughtful and contemplative, almost wistful. There’s a wonderful anthemic nature to the theme that emerges towards the end of the performance.
‘Pinch’ is much more extrovert in nature, the group making full use of the possibilities available to them by the use of electronic instruments. Each track seems to have distinct episodes, the music seems to ebb and flow, keeping the listener’s interest throughout.

There are some very lengthy tracks on the album ‘Madness Subsides’ is a tour de force at almost fourteen minutes, This is a beautiful tone poem, initially highlighting the guitarists sound to which is soon added pensive keyboards. And soulful double bass. Again, around the half way point, the pace changes to something more sinister, making full use of the electronics. Then the tempo picks up, before finally subsiding into elegant repose. This is a completely absorbing piece of music.
‘Benjamin’ follows, initially highlighting the magnificent bass playing. The trumpet here makes subtle use of what I guess to be over-dubbing. Again, this track has various sections, almost like ‘movements’.
‘Innocent Questions’ commences with ethereal keyboards and is a lovely introduction to the trumpet. For me, this is the highlight of the album.

There are seven tracks on the album, most coming in at around the seven to eight minute mark but with a couple exceeding ten minutes.
I soon forgot that the source music for the album was prog-rock. This is completely original and compelling music. Pohjola and friends succeed in taking the listener on an emotional journey into a hitherto unexplored area of music. Even if you are unfamiliar with his father’s music, there is still much enjoyment to be gained from this album.

Alan Musson

Trish Clowes ‘My Iris’ (Basho) 5/5

This is the saxophonist’s fourth album for Basho Records and features her latest quartet which shares its name with that of the album title. This really is a powerhouse aggregation, featuring the cream of the current crop of British jazz musicians (or to carry forward the horticultural reference, Night Blooming Jazz Men, perhaps) Chris Montague is on guitar, the eponymous Ross Stanley on piano, alongside his more familiar Hammond organ and James Maddren is behind the drum kit. All three men are certainly no shrinking violets!
I have to agree with my fellow writer Dave Gelly, himself no mean saxophonist, when writing in The Observer that “with just four players, the variety of tone colour is remarkable”. Just like the colour variety of Irises. In addition to her abilities as a musician, Clowes is also a fine composer, being a BASCA British Composer Award winner.

Clowes is in turns warm-hearted, sprightly, introspective, graceful and pithy. Influences range from Wayne Shorter to Stan Getz and beyond.
I imagine that Clowes has an audacious sense of humour as exhibited in some of the titles that she gives her compositions. ‘I Can’t Find My Other Brush’ and ‘A Cat Called Behemoth’ are just two examples.
‘Muted Lines’ is a non-Clowes composition where the verse, an adaptation of a 16th Century Armenian poem, is sung by Clowes. This piece mirrors the grief of Armenian genocide and more recent atrocities in Eastern Turkey.
Montague’s electronic effects bring a contemporary sheen to what may otherwise have been an almost conventional sounding ‘In Between the Moss and Ivy”. This is a particularly outstanding performance by all concerned.

The opening piece on the album, ‘One Hour’ gets things under way in a very pensive mood with atmospheric organ and soprano saxophone. The soprano sound reminding me somewhat of the music of fellow saxophonist Theo Travis. Gradually, the intensity builds, as drums join and after a brief pause, guitar and acoustic piano enter with an altogether more sunny feel, the music taking on a freewheeling nature, until a wonderful guitar and saxophone unison statement after which the guitarist is allowed free reign, closely followed by the saxophonist.
‘Blue Calm’ is a playful sounding theme with the leader on tenor sax, negotiating the serpentine melody. What follows thereafter is pure musical perfection.
‘Tap Dance (For Baby Dodds)’ is great fun. With a fine bluesy solo from the guitarist, reminiscent of some of John Scofield’s best work.
All eight tracks on the album are masterpieces, many weaving delightful musical tapestries for the ears. Repeated listening reveals new delights. The many vivid colours of the Iris are evoked by the quartet.

Perhaps aptly, Iris may be being used in its capacity as an ambiguous colour term – ranging from blue-violet to violet. Aptly reflecting the many colours of music on display here. Or perhaps Trish is depicted here as the Greek goddess of the rainbow. But, more worryingly, I’ve discovered that there is a species of praying mantis which shares the name.
This album is really just one wonderful musical selection box, a cornucopia of musical riches.

Alan Musson

UK Vibe team mix no.10 – Brian Goucher

UK Vibe Mix No.10: Brian Goucher – Sunshine People

Tracklisting

Gillespie & Co – Sunshine People
The True Pages Of Life – Truth And Love
Benjamin & The Right Direction – Light Of My Life
Big Lee Dowell And The Cannonballs Feat. Maxim Moston – What I Done Wrong
L.V. Johnson – We Belong Together
Z.Z. Hill – I Don’t Want Our Love To Be No Secret
Little Milton – Survivors Of Love
King Diamond – That’s All She Wrote
Archie Bell & The Drells – I Just Want To Fall In Love
Temptations – Heavenly
The Chapells – You’re Acting Kinda Strange
Tyrone Davis – Was I Just A Fool
The Enticers – Storyteller
Elevation – Love Won’t Pay The Bills
One’Sy Mack – I’ll Never Go Away
Sam Dees – Signed Miss Heroin
Chick Willis – Love Stealing Ain’t Worth The Feeling
Clinton Harmon – I Want To Get Close To You
El Dorados – Looking In From The Outside
Jimmy Elledge – Can’t Take The Leavin’
Danelle Darris – Don’t Love Me And Leave Me
The Esquires – Girls In The City
Eddie Hinton – Dreamer
Exsaveyons – Somewhere
The New Way – I’m Sorry ‘Bout That
Chi-Lites – Let Me Be The Man My Daddy Was
Extensions – Your Heart Belongs To Me
Shelley Fisher – Dear Love
Jack Montgomery – Beauty Isn’t Born
Mel Davis – Double Or Nothing
The Rance Allen Group – I Give My All To You
The Dontells – I Can’t Wait
Durand Jones & The Indications – Is It Any Wonder
Fred – Love Can Last Forever
Soul Scratch – Kiss Me In The Morning
The Monophonics – Too Long

Andrew Hartman ‘Compass’ (Private Press) 4/5

New York City based guitarist Andrew Hartman was born into a musical family in Cincinnati. Hartman grew up playing a variety of instruments, beginning his formal studies on trumpet, but with the guitar occupying an ever-increasing number of hours in his day. Studying guitar at the Ohio State University, Hartman became active in the Columbus jazz scene, learning on the gig from many of the area’s experienced musicians. This left an indelible mark in Hartman’s taste in jazz music. In addition to working as a sideman, he led the group Still Motion, for which he was also the main composer and arranger, with the quintet releasing an album of Hartman’s original compositions in 2010. In 2011 Hartman moved to London, where he worked as a freelance musician and teacher. Over the course of a year, he met and performed with some of the UK’s finest jazz musicians, eventually leading a group playing his new original music. His latest release “Compass”, is a quartet outing and features saxophonist Chris Cheek, bassist Ike Sturm, and drummer Zach Harmon.
The album features nine of the guitarist’s original compositions and an arrangement of Paul Simon’s “America”. Largely written over the last five years, the music reflects a period of frequent travel for Hartman. There’s a lovely warm, rich tone throughout the recording which is fairly straight-ahead contemporary jazz for the most part, with Brazilian and Indian musical influences creeping in here and there.

Hartman has chosen his trio of fellow musicians well. Bassist Ike Sturm and drummer Zach Harmon both provide excellent support, whether that be laying the foundation for the guitar and sax solos, creating a groove that sits nicely behind the composer’s melodies, or on occasion taking the lead. But it is saxophonist Chris Cheek that lifts this album up and above the average. I have always been an admirer of Cheek’s playing, and his melodic, lyrical and fluent style is perfect for Hartman’s compositions.

Stand-out tracks for me include the infectious “Chic Korea” which features some marvellous interplay between all four musicians, the uplifting “New Day”, with its journeying, meandering and wistful feel, the tuneful, slightly melancholic “Devices”, the effervescent “The Heights” which is perhaps the most accomplished piece on the album, and the quartet’s take on Paul Simon’s “America”; a quite stunning arrangement that makes me want to hit the repeat button on my music player.

“Compass” is an enjoyable album, with some fine compositions and skillful playing from guitarist Hartman. It is though, as previously mentioned, the wonderful tone and virtuosity of saxophonist Chris Cheek that brings most pleasure to this listener’s ears.

Mike Gates

Betty Roché and Marilyn Moore ‘Four Classic Albums Plus’ 2CD (Avid) 4/5

Why oh why did Betty Roché not record more prolifically in her lifetime? This truly excellent selection of albums dating from 1955 through 1961 hints at what a marvellous talent she was. Born in Washington in 1920, Roché scored early success in her twenties as part of the Savoy Sultans in 1941-1942, plus enjoyed two separate tenures with the Duke Ellington orchestra in 1943. However, a recording strike at the time kept all bands off record and thus we have nothing to judge her performances of that specific period with. 
Betty Roché began her solo recording career on the outstanding independent Bethlehem label, the vinyl album of which is much sought after among collectors, but was briefly re-issued in that format in Europe during the 1990s. A classic set of standards, it features some top name musicians including Conte Candoli on trumpet and Eddie Costa on vibes. This writer warmed immediately to the stunning take on, ‘In a mellow tone’. here treated at a slightly different pace which works beautifully, and at siginficantly more vibrant tempo. Other numbers of note include a reworking of, ‘Route 66’, which Nat King Cole had immortalised, while her collaboration with the Duke is remembered on a creditable interpretation of, ‘Take the ‘A’ train’.

Two early 1960s albums on the Prestige label (7000 series for those in the know) capture Roché in scintillating form and accompanied by the cream of jazz musicians from that era. The first of these, ‘Singin’ and Swingin’ date from 1960 and features a stunning line-up of Jack McDuff on hammond organ, Bill Jennings on guitar and Roy Haynes on drums. A percussive rendition of, ‘Billie’s bounce’, stands out along with an inventive take on, ‘A foggy day’, a song that Billie Holiday made her own. The second, ‘Lightly and politely’, repeats the standards format, with the welcome addition of guitarist Wally Richardson, who would go on to later record a cult psychedelic jazz album of some standing among acid jazz fans. Of the tasty selections, ‘Polka dots and moonbeams’, is a long time favourite of vocalists and Roché adds her own personal touch to the standard. Ellington’s songbook is further explored with, ‘I got it bad (and that ain’t good)’ impressing, as does Gerry Mulligan’s, ‘Someone to watch over me’.

Rounding off matters on the second CD is a separate album showcasing the vocal talents of Marilyn Moore, accompanied by the Don Abney Orchestra, with the leader doubling up on piano. Quite an array of talented instrumentalists includes Al Cohn on bass and tenor clarinet, Barry Galbraith on guitar, Milton Hinton on the bass and Osie Johnson on drums. The great American songbook is once again the fertile terrain for fresh readings and of these, Duke Ellington’s, ‘I’m just a lucky so and so’ and, ‘You’re driving me crazy’, stand out among what is in general a strong set. As a bonus on the second CD, Gershwin’s evergreen, ‘Summertime’, the most interpreted song of all the standard repertoire, is heard in three separate versions. As ever with Avid re-issues, value for money timing on this budget price series, with the full original back cover details are squeezed in and the original notes are crammed with discographical details.

Tim Stenhouse

Piri ‘Vocês Querem Mate?’ CD/LP/DIG (Far Out) 5/5

The latest in the ongoing series of classic Brazilian re-issues from the rare as hen’s teeth Quartin label on original vinyl, longer-term fans of the Far Out label will have fond memories of the mid-1990s compilation that featured several tracks from the group Piri. This complete album now provides the whole story behind a stunning early 1970s slice of Brazilian psychedelic folk with jazz tinges into the mix. Setting the scene to stunning effect is the opener, ‘Reza brava’, which could just as easily be off a long-lost Quarteto Novo album and the wordless vocals lead into a berimbau breakdown of distinction. Equally good is the introspective, ‘Lágrimas’ with a flute solo that fits the mood to perfection. Arguably, strongest of all is the repetitive and ultra-catchy riff of, ‘Cupido esculpido’, with a piano vamp that on less than Sergio Mendes would be proud of and again featuring some tasty flute soloing.
Band members were something of a Brazilian instrumental super group and these included percussionist Wilson das Neves and Juquina, while the double pairing comprised Danilo Caymmi from the first family of Brazilian folk music and another family of international repute, Paulinho Jobim. Little wonder the music is so compelling in this calibre of company. The name Piri is actually the first name of male singer Piri Reis who combines on a male-female joint vocals on the lovely uptempo groove of, ‘Chão vermelho’. Of note is that Reis has collaborated with some of the Brazilian jazz greats including guitarist Egberto Gismonti and drummer/percussionist Robertinho Silva. Furthermore, the music of Reis has been covered by musicians of the calibre of bassist Charlie Haden and multi-reedist Jan Garbarek. Another uptempo winner in the Quarteto Novo vein is, ‘Espiral’, while for those of a more leisurely persuasion, the folk-influenced, ‘As incriveis peripécias de Danilo’. is sure to please on the ear.

The iconic front cover of the album with four band members in a tipped wheel barrow like cart virtually says it all and sums up the relaxed and rootsy atmosphere present on the album. With sunny summer days and night now seemingly the norm at present, this is your ideal musical accompaniment. Roll on more Quartin re-issues when the listening experience is as enjoyable as this!

Tim Stenhouse

Various ‘Zaïre 74: The African Artists’ 3LP/2CD (Wrasse) 5/5

The recent heavyweight championship fight at Wembley stadium in London captivated audiences worldwide and music played a minor part in proceedings. Flash back some forty plus years, however, and another epic fight, that between Muhammad Ali and George Freeman in the Zairean capital of Kinshasa in 1974, served as the pretext for one of the most daring and exhilarating series of music concerts ever organised on the African continent. Events were captured on film by director Leon Gast and just a tiny part of what actually took place came out on the DVD documentary, ‘Soul power’. However, this focused attention primarily on the African-American artists who were flown over to perform a series of concerts and, as an additional bonus, the cream of Latin music stars, including Cuban singer Celia Cruz, who accompanied the blues, funk and soul artists. Prominent among the latter was James Brown whose performances are briefly showcased on the documentary.
However, a second part to the equation has until now received only fleeting coverage and that is the participation of some of the most esteemed of African musicians, and this is where, ‘Zaïre ’74’ comes into it’s own. If Bob Marley was the undisputed king of reggae, then the colossus (in all senses of the word, not only the breadth of his work, but also his sheer physical size and gargantuan appetite) that was musician leader and guitarist from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is surely Marley’s equal on the African continent. That his status and pantheon of work has not spread wider is largely due to his untimely death just as the concept of world roots music was taking off. This comprehensive concert coverage puts the record straight and, moreover, includes Franco’s main rival, and a distinguished ambassador of Congolese soukous music in his own right, Tabu Ley Rochereau. One wonders what James Brown made of contemporary African music. What is clear that African musicians were soaking up African-American influences and presumably vice-versa. Both of the first introductory pieces, by Tabu Ley on CD 1 and Franco on CD 2, indicate that they were listening intently to James Brown live, and for the former, the JB inflected guitar and drum beats given a Congolese flavour are a treat. Franco in turn pays homage on a largely instrumental introductory number that fans of Afro-Beat funk will immediately identify with and the incessant guitar licks are a joy to behold. Of course, a key feature of Congolese soukous are the slow, quasi-funeral intros, before shifting up several gears in the main part, and this is highlighted on, ‘Kasai’, before the second feature, namely among the sweetest sounding vocal harmonies on the planet come into play (and one that give roots reggae vocalists a good run for their money), with those glorious guitar riffs that flow endlessly.

Equally, the role of women in African music should never be overlooked, or downgraded and, arguably the African equivalent of the ‘Queen of Latin music’ in Celia Cruz was Miriam Makeba, who had already conquered the United States. By this period in the mid-1970s, she was heavily influenced by emerging pan-African political movements and openly combatting the repressive apartheid regime in her native South Africa, having sought refuge in Guinea. Operating with a pared down and largely acoustic formation, Makeba, affectionately known as ‘Mama Africa’, offers a lovely alternative to the big band formations of the two Congolese masters. In French, which Makeba had started to master while resident in francophone Africa, she contributes, ‘Umqhokozo’, while in English, the rhythm of, ‘West wind’, bears a remarkable resemblance to an early 1960s Serge Gainsbourg composition from his jazz period. Another singer worthy of attention here and featured extensively on CD 1 is Zaire’s very own musical queen in Abeti. Just a year previous, Abeti had made her concert debut in France at the prestigious l’Olympia venue in Paris, and this had clearly given her all the confidence she required for the performance in Kinshasa. Her voice has a wonderful rustic charm, with an infectious bass line that combines beautifully with her naturally high-pitched vocals. Her sound is typified by, ‘Wandugo wampenzi’. A far lesser known group are the Kinshasa-based boy group, Orchestre Stukas, and they took no board funk and pop influences as well as those of their native land. They also offered up praise songs to the political leader at the time, the dictator Mobutu, and the close relationship between musicians and politicians is a key feature of Congolese music.

Co-produced by South African trumpet legend, Hugh Masekela, and the original musical concert producer, Stuart Levine, this extremely well thought out and perfectly executed chronicle of the music, includes individual interviews with the pair who reminisce on how events unfolded. The excellent package design and outer sleeve by Milton Glaser brings back the 1970s like an Adidas log of the era (he really out to design a t-shirt with that cover, it so reeks of 1970s memorabilia) round off an outstanding re-issue with excellent and informative sleeve notes contributed by renowned world roots music, Robin Denslow. As a whole, this package is likely to feature on this writer’s end of year listing of re-issue for world roots category.

Tim Stenhouse

Various ‘Let’s Get Swinging: Modern Jazz in Belgium 1950-1970’ 2CD/2LP Gatefold (Sdban/N.E.W.S.) 5/5

For those who might have believed that Belgian jazz was limited to the harmonica sounds of ‘Toots’ Thielemans who died only last August, then think again. This wonderfully conceived and perfectly executed anthology throws important new light on the evolution of modern jazz in Belgium, beginning with the bop revolution and taking on board big band, Latin and modal influences along the way. From the exquisite cover art work of Luc Hoenraet (worthy of a separate exhibition) to the sumptuous gatefold sleeve and hard back cover, this is an exemplary compilation that leaves no stone unturned and reveals a treasure trove of information and sounds that await the reader-listener. Revelation number one is the work of guitarist René Thomas, who recorded with no less than Sonny Rollins in his prime in 1957 on the seminal, ‘Brass and Trio’, and then later double album with Stan Getz on the live recording, ‘Dynasty’ (both albums on the Verve label). Thomas was in fact a highly respected guitarist and musician who recorded one album as a leader, ‘Guitar groove’, for the prestigious Riverside label. Here Thomas features alongside revelation number two, flautist and tenor saxophonist Bobby Jaspar who has a similarly impressive CV. Intricate guitar and flute work between the two musicians combine on, ‘Bernie’s taste’, as part of a quintet. Better known by virtue of his work as one half of the Clarke-Boland band, is pianist Francy Boland and the mid-tempo trio outing, ‘Dark eyes’, is just the kind of groove that Italian DJ/musician Nicola Conte or Gilles Peterson might espouse and rightly so. In a similar dance-jazz vein comes percussionist-vibist Fats Sadi. More discerning jazz fans will have heard, ‘Ensadinando’ on other compilations and it is most certainly worthy of a place here.

The second CD continues in very much the same lineage with fine work from Kenny Clarke on Francy Boland’s modal flavoured, ‘Night lady’, while in a more straight ahead big band bop vein is a Paris recorded Bobby Jaspar larger formation on ‘Coraline’, and it should be stressed that recording locations are situated throughout western Europe and not restricted to solely to Belgium, with Paris a favourite destination. This time Jaspar takes charge on tenor saxophone and of note is the participation of a young French pianist called Maurice Vander, who would go on to be the preferred piano accompanist of none other than French jazz singer Claude Nougaro. Elsewhere, leader Jack Sels is a name to watch out for and his quartet offer a tasty reworking of the soul-jazz classic, ‘Work song’. Sels re-appears on a more sedate piece, the self-penned, ‘Minor work’ as part of the Lucky Thompson and Jack Sels sextet, with Fats Sadi now in supportive vibraphone mode.

What impresses above else on this package is how lovingly the individual tracks have been deconstructed in the excellent inner sleeve notes with exemplary personnel listing and album/EP cover photos. Impeccable sound quality rounds off what can only be described as a first class with distinction project that quite simply opens up a whole new avenue to explore. Given cultural differences expressed by the French and Flemish speaking populations of Belgium, this is one cultural endeavour on which all linguistic communities can wholeheartedly agree. This writer looks forward, hopefully, to a second volume that takes the Belgian jazz story full circle from 1970 through to the present. Enterprising labels should also think seriously about an anthology of the work of Bobby Jaspar who deserves to be considered among the very best of flute players and was no mean tenorist.

Tim Stenhouse