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Album Review

Chris Biscoe: Music Is: Chris Biscoe Plays Mike Westbrook

Read "Music Is: Chris Biscoe Plays Mike Westbrook" reviewed by Duncan Heining

Chris Biscoe can trade choruses with the best and melt the heart with the tenderest of ballads. But that is not what makes him special. Live and on record there is always a sense of quiet anticipation as he starts a solo. One knows one is about to hear something new, something different. It is more than his mastery of a range of woodwinds. It is more than the wonderful tone he achieves seemingly effortlessly on each of his instruments--powerful, ...

Album Review

GoGo Penguin: Everything Is Going to Be OK

Read "Everything Is Going to Be OK" reviewed by Geno Thackara

There is clearly something different about GoGo Penguin on their sixth full-length: where they've previously had a pattern of evocative titles and vaguely futuristic abstract covers, this one (at first glance) looks and reads almost like a greeting card. This also comes after one-third of the trio changed with 2022's interim EP, Between Two Waves (Sony/XXIM). Underneath the wrapping, though, it's recognizably the same evolving not-jazz-not-techno mix that they've made into their own niche, even when taking time to touch ...

Album Review

Chris Biscoe: Music Is: Chris Biscoe Plays Mike Westbrook

Read "Music Is: Chris Biscoe Plays Mike Westbrook" reviewed by Chris May

Chris Biscoe has played in the bands led by the great British composer Mike Westbrook and/or his wife, singer and lyricist Kate Westbrook, every year since 1979 bar one. He is the Westbrooks' first-call saxophonist and clarinetist and the love runs both ways. It also rings out on every track of this beautiful album. The concept is straightforward. Biscoe has taken seven Westbrook pieces out of their original, mostly big band, contexts and arranged them for a ...

Album Review

Chip Wickham: Cloud 10

Read "Cloud 10" reviewed by Peter Jones

Is it OK for music to be background? In other words, does all music have to be listened to with the same degree of concentration and freedom from distraction? It may be a moot question in these greatly distracted times. Here's another, related question: is the music you want on in the background necessarily inferior to the stuff you need to pay attention to? This new album from flutist/tenor saxophonist Chip Wickham is in the genre of spiritual ...

Album Review

Ivo Neame: Glimpses of Truth

Read "Glimpses of Truth" reviewed by Chris May

"The Rise of The Lizard People," the title of the scene-setting opening track on Ivo Neame's Glimpses Of Truth, was prompted by an article Neame read which claimed that 12 million Americans believe that interstellar lizards run the United States. Only 12 million? In a country with a population approaching 332 million, around half of whose voters are idiots and conspiracy theorists, one might imagine that a far greater number would be feeling threatened by shape-shifting reptiles. To be fair, ...

Album Review

Kristian Borring: Out of Nowhere

Read "Out of Nowhere" reviewed by Jack Bowers

After coming of age in his home country, Danish-born guitarist Kristian Borring relocated to the U.K. where he became a stalwart fixture on the jazz scene and released four albums as leader of his own groups. Out of Nowhere is the fifth, recorded in 2019, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic struck, and featuring as before a rhythm section comprising three British comrades: pianist Rick Simpson, bassist Mick Coady and drummer Jon Scott. Borring wrote six of the ...

Album Review

Chip Wickham: Blue To Red

Read "Blue To Red" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

It's not always easy to feel uplifted and optimistic these days, when reasons to be downhearted seem to overwhelm the reasons to be cheerful. When an album's title refers to a planet's descent from life-giving blue to the deadness of red (Mars, in this context, but British flautist Chris Wickham fears that Earth may be heading in the same direction) it hardly appears likely that it's one for the “cheerful" pile: and yet Blue To Red, from Wickham, is one ...

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