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ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

GoGo Penguin: A Humdrum Star

Read "A Humdrum Star" reviewed by Phil Barnes

If 2016's Man Made Object, their first for Blue Note, was an exercise in consolidating past triumphs while signposting potential ways forward, then there can be no doubt that with A Humdrum Star GoGo Penguin have stepped into a version of that future. Ostensibly the title is a self-effacing reference to a Carl Sagan TV series ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mammal Hands: Shadow Work

Read "Shadow Work" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Our best musicians can soak up influences from many diverse sources, assimilate them into their own style, and allow them to emerge during improvisation. This is why, as readers of this site will surely be aware, a piece can sound different in the hands of two skilled jazz musicians even when the raw material of the ...

Dwight Trible: Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)

Read "Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Having worked with the likes of the Pharoah Sanders Quartet and Kamasi Washington the musical fit between Los Angeles native Dwight Trible and Manchester's Gondwana records should be self- evident. This album was conceived as a combination of joint favourites and spiritual jazz classics chosen by Trible and Gondwana label boss Matthew Halsall, after a couple ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chip Wickham: La Sombra

Read "La Sombra" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Twenty-five years into his career as a professional musician, saxophonist and flautist Chip Wickham has released his solo debut. La Sombra, recorded in Madrid with three excellent musicians from that city's jazz scene, is gorgeous.

Wickham hails from Manchester, in north-west England. The area is home to some distinctive musicians, most notably trumpeter Matthew ...

Mammal Hands: Floa

Read "Floa" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Mammal Hands debut album Animalia from autumn 2014 impressed with its emphasis on the overall collective effect over solo pyrotechnics, a choice that perfectly complemented the build and release of tension in the music. Of course in a trio set up the contributions of each member are always discernible and the twist of substituting Jordan Smart's ...

Matthew Halsall: Matthew Halsall: On the Go (Special Edition)

Read "Matthew Halsall: On the Go (Special Edition)" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Slipping under the radar this low-key reissue of Matthew Halsall's classic 2011 album should not be ignored. Why so? Well rather than just tweak the tapes for a first vinyl issue Halsall, who it appears was not completely happy with the original mix, has taken the opportunity to commission a full remix and remaster by George ...

ARTICLE: BEST OF / YEAR END

Phil Barnes' Favourite Albums of 2015

Read "Phil Barnes' Favourite Albums of 2015" reviewed by Phil Barnes

I am grateful to All About Jazz for their continued loyalty and support for my writing during a difficult year when I learned some things about what David Sylvian called the 'banality of evil' that I'd rather not know. Musically the year in the UK was distorted by the London Jazz Festival in November, with many ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Nat Birchall: Invocations

Read "Nat Birchall: Invocations" reviewed by Phil Barnes

There is a feeling of a new beginning on this collection from Nat Birchall. Superficially the album is released on Henley-on-Thames' Jazzman records rather than Birchall's own Sound Soul and Spirit records, on which he released the wonderful World Without Form and classic Live in Larissa. More tangibly only Adam Fairhall on piano remains from those ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra: Into Forever

Read "Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra: Into Forever" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Some artists epitomise the times they live in, while others go their own way, standing apart from the herd, ploughing their own furrow. As the self-aggrandising, dishonest and downright greedy seem to gain ever greater prominence in our world, those whose work can provide a few moments of respite, refuge and reflection become more and more ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stuart McCallum: City

Read "Stuart McCallum: City" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Much of what passes for progressive radio programming, whether that be traditional live to air or internet stations, has been pushed into genre ghettos in recent times--where a record can be enormous within a particular scene but invisible to 99.9% of the world at large. Even in Europe, where the genre constrained formats common in the ...