Alex Hutton Trio ‘Legentis’ (F-ire) 4/5

British pianist and trio leader Alex Hutton offers an all original set of compositions that impresses with its focus on folk-based themes and a nice mixture of classical and folk influences alongside jazz and even rock elements. A gorgeous folk-jazz ambience is created on ‘Clouds’ with, on the surface, an apparent simplicity to the playing belying a more sophisticated approach and especially strong melodies. In particular the bass work fromYuri and Goloubev and drumming from Asaf Sirkin, the latter recently heard on the latrst Gwilym Simcock release, display a great deal of sensitivity. Leader Hutton reveals a genuine passion for Scandinavian music on ‘A Norsk tale’, with Grieg’s ‘Lyrical pieces’ immediately springing to mind and further classical tones emerge on ‘The legend is script’ with the delicate use of French horn and flute. The all too brief ‘Hymn II’ even features the cor anglais and is an intiguing blend of classical and folk. In terms of pianistic influences, Brad Mehldau and Keith Jarrett and possibly classical maestro Emil Gilels have all weaved their spell on Alex Hutton and it has done him a power of good. Guest vocals from Heidi Vogel and a rockier beat on the wordless vocalese piece ‘J.J.’. One of the more original pianists to have emerged in recent times with a clear idea of where he is working towards. A promising future beckons.

Tim Stenhouse