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Malija - Mark Lockheart Jasper Høiby Liam Noble: Instinct

Roger Farbey By

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This is Malija's successor to their 2015 debut album The Day I Had Everything. The trio first played together on Mark Lockheart's album but that was in a quintet configuration with trumpet and drums. The three protagonists in this affair are now very well-known on the European jazz scene. Mark Lockheart, an alumnus of Loose Tubes, has made numeruous albums under his ow name and in collaboration. The Danish bassist Jasper Hoiby is leader of the renowned trio Phronesis and Liam Noble, like Lockheart, has been a stalwart of the U.K.jazz scene for years.

For those unfamiliar with Malija's sound, it might take a couple of tracks to get used to it, but the labyrinthine twists and turns of "Kindred Spirit" manifest an accurate template for the ensuing nine tracks. The serpentine, sprightly "TV Shoes" alternates between harmonic and unison melodies and yet by the close it has resolved into a real swinger, fading into the distance.

Høiby's "Hung Up" benefits from a perceptible groove, established courtesy of an obligato piano and bass figure. Subtle pizzicato bass and delicate piano frame the background for Lockheart's soaring soprano saxophone on "Mila." Noble's "Panda Feathers" has an airy Brubeckian feel, perhaps unsurprisingly so since Noble released a highly acclaimed album of Brubeck tunes in 2009. Høiby's arco bass leads on Lockheart's lugubrious composition "Sanctuary" which is sharply contrasted by the ensuing lively "Elegantly Posh" again penned by Lockheart.

Messrs Lockheart, Høiby and Noble have again conjured-up an album of fascinating and often mesmeric tunes, all of which are seamlessly interwoven originals. As earlier drummer-less trios have proved (those led by Jimmy Giuffrewere a perfect example), these work on a different intellectual level, more cerebral and less visceral, perhaps requiring a little more attention from the listener, but in so doing yield greater dividends.

Track Listing: Kindred Spirit; TV Shoes; Hung Up; A Wing And A Prayer; Moon Stairs; Mila; Panda Feathers; Sanctuary; Elegantly Posh; Spaced Out.

Personnel: Mark Lockheart: soprano and tenor saxophones; Jasper Høiby: double bass; Liam Noble: piano.

Title: Instinct | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Edition Records

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