SAMI MOUKADDEM Resistance: Soul Food (no label)
If there’s a difference between Sami Moukaddem’s second CD in a year and his debut, The Crest of a Wave, it’s in the sources he draws on for inspiration; here they’re more political-personal than personal-personal, and gain resonance from the latest news from Lebanon. The music is of a piece with its predecessor: a distinct and engaging near eastern hybrid, with harmonic movement at a premium, presenting the quartet’s principals, guitarist Moukaddem and Brendan Doyle (alto/tenor/ clarinet/flute), notable rhythmic and linear challenges and opportunities. The rhythm section of Jose Carlos Anselmo (electric bass and percussion) and Robbie Harris (bodhran and assorted percussion) is fine, but Fadi Hatoum, whose darbouka and daff illuminated the first album, would have been an asset. www.samimoukaddem.com.
ALAN BARNES/SCOTT HAMILTON Zootcase Woodville
Sharing a common mainstream language, Barnes (alto/baritone) and Hamilton, on tenor, just set about some standards – no great surprises in what they selected, either – and a few originals by Zoot Sims and ColemanHawkins, also based on standards, with one a blues line. They have a ball. Secured by an impeccably apposite rhythm section in David Newton (piano), Matt Miles (bass) and Steve Brown (drums), they stretch out to good effect. No borders breached, but it does allow an appreciation of how masterful Hamilton is at what he does; here he overshadows even so superb a mainstreamer as Barnes, although Newton pushes him hard for solo honours. And Brown, tasteful and swinging, remains a drummer par excellence for this kind of jazz. www.musicconnection.org.uk