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Geno Thackara's Best Releases of 2016

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I always say it when recapping every year, and it's been truer than ever for me since I was fortunate to join All About Jazz at the start of 2016: there's always too much great stuff to take in. There are always too many albums we don't get around to during the year and too little time to properly dig into everything we do. Nonetheless, here are the jazz-related standouts out of everything that's managed to cross my desk (in ...


GoGo Penguin: Man Made Object

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They're not your parents' kind of piano trio. Regardless of your age, they're not the obvious idea of yours either. In a milieu that's based on exploration or at least adaptability, GoGo Penguin is still more restless and exploratory than most; this UK outfit's brew of what they call “acoustic electronica" owes a debt to Brian Eno or the Orb as much as Bill Evans. The grooves can be based in the digital world's traditions of house, drum-and-bass or chill--not ...


GoGo Penguin: Man Made Object

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Its stick or twist for GoGo Penguin as they release this, their Blue Note debut and the first of a reputed three album deal. Do they push ahead, expanding their palette of electronica seen through the prism of acoustic jazz, or retreat a tad in deference to their new paymasters by emphasising the more traditional jazz elements of their sound. Should we be concerned that the two years since their breakthrough v2.0 album suggest a creative block or difficulty coping ...


GoGo Penguin at Riverbank Arts Centre

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GoGo Penguin Riverbank Arts Centre Newbridge, Ireland October 31, 2015 With the Curragh Racecourse just a few furlongs away, Newbridge is more famous for horse racing than for its bridge that spans The Liffey. However, the independent Riverbank Arts Centre--just forty minutes from Dublin--is doing its bit to broaden the town's profile as, in addition to a great place for a flutter, a home to local, national and international arts. On this Halloween night, ...


GoGo Penguin: v2.0

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Dating the emergence of a cultural phenomenon such as house music in the UK is notoriously difficult. While the tabloid furore probably reached full force in 1988, most would accept that the rise occurred the year before with the first (acid house) 'summer of love.' By any reckoning a lot of time has passed since those days and it seems remarkable how few credible crossovers between jazz and dance music there have been since then. While the looseness of hip ...


GoGo Penguin: v2.0

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So what do we have here? An album by Manchester trio GoGo Penguin. The minimalist front cover gives nothing away, no band name, no album title. The somewhat prosaic title, v2.0 is actually rather more informative--for this is the band's second album, performed by its second lineup. Pianist Chris Illingworth and drummer Rob Turner both appeared on the band's debut, Fanfares (Gondwana Records, 2012). Nick Blacka joined them at the end of 2012, replacing original bassist Grant Russell.


GoGo Penguin: Fanfares

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Jazz musicians are some of the most musically imaginative souls on the planet, but their imaginations often desert them when it's time to choose a band name. So thanks must go to whoever decided to name this group GoGo Penguin: it's a suitably imaginative name for a trio full of imaginative music. Three young men who met at the Royal Northern College Of Music in Manchester, with a sound that combines jazz, dance music, electronica and rock: that's Gogo Penguin. ...