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Liam Noble Trio – Brubeck

John Fordham – The Guardian **** This reappraisal of Dave Brubeck’s work is so good that the jazz legend himself declared it “an inspiration and a challenge for me to carry on in the avenues that you have opened”. Brubeck was an early inspiration for UK pianist Liam Noble, and here Noble takes a dozen of his classics – including …

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Nikki Yeoh – Solo Gemini

John Fordham – The Guardian **** This solo album from London pianist Nikki Yeoh has been a long time coming – Courtney Pine hired her back in the early 1990s, and she’s been an original, if elusive, composer/player ever since. Now she’s come out with the solo set that always seemed imminent. The mazey Six As 1, a left-hand hook …

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Ingrid Laubrock & Liam Noble – Let’s Call This…

John Fordham – the Guardian *** German saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock has some Lee Konitz connections in her soft tone, cliche-avoidance and tendency to ponder, but on soprano throughout here, she adds a squawkier edge that occasionally suggests the late Steve Lacy. It’s a duo album for Laubrock and highly talented local pianist Liam Noble, but its soundscape is broadened by …

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Pigfoot – 21st Century Acid Trad

John Fordham – The Guardian *** On last year’s debut album of twisted pop songs, improv, trad-jazz huffing and impish groove-bending, Pigfoot sounded like ideal reassurance for the jazz-suspicious – they were four knowledgeable and very skilful contemporary practitioners infectiously having a ball. The only reservation, then, was that they might be even more fun live, and the Vortex appearance …

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Barry Green – The Music of Chance

John Fordham – The Guardian **** Barry Green only graduated in 2002, but his versatility and imagination have seen him turning up all over the UK jazz scene. The pianist tours in January with a quartet that includes the excellent saxophonist from Outhouse, Mark Hanslip. This, however, is a trio session featuring American musicians Ben Street on bass and Jeff …

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Babelfish – Babelfish

John Fordham – The Guardian **** Possessed of Norma Winstone-like subtlety and precision, the Italian singer-songwriter Brigitte Beraha could hardly be in better company than with Babelfish – the A-list instrumental team of pianist Barry Green, bassist Chris Laurence and drummer Paul Clarvis. It’s a joint venture between Beraha and Green, who share an enthusiasm for unusual sources: the poetry of EE …

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Dave Green & Barry Green – Turn Left At Monday

John Fordham – The Guardian *** If jazz is a niche taste, then the piano/bass duo playing in the ballpark of the keyboard genius Bill Evans is a niche within a niche. But pairing pianist Barry Green and bassist Dave Green (they are not related) gives this subtle format the full attentions of two of the best mainstream-to-bop musicians on the UK scene. …

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Brigitte Beraha – Flying Dreams

John Fordham – Guardian *** Brigitte Beraha is a young multilingual singer-songwriter (born in Italy, raised in Monaco, now living in east London) with alert jazz instincts and a lot of promise. Vocally, she has much of the pure-toned, wide-ranging, faintly inscrutable serenity of Norma Winstone, and a little of Flora Purim’s cool athleticism, too. She is good enough to …