Drift­wood ECM Wolf­gang Muth­spiel’s de­but for ECM might have been a case of tail wags dog, what with a rhythm sec­tion that in­cludes two of the most cre­ative and sought-af­ter play­ers in con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can jazz. But bassist Larry Gre­nadier and drum­mer Brian Blade are too good and too gen­er­ous for that. The Aus­trian gui­tarist’s sub­tle, less-is-more play­ing is rem­i­nis­cent of John Abercrombie, and to say that this ru­mi­na­tive collection of orig­i­nal com­po­si­tions bears com­par­i­son to the lat­ter’s trio records for ECM in the 1980s is to con­fer on it the high­est praise. Blade is a poet of the drum set, and Gre­nadier a poised com­bi­na­tion of so­lid­ity and un­pre­dictabil­ity. Still, it is Muth­spiel’s range as a player and skill as a com­poser that de­fine this darkly in­tro­spec­tive work. prop­er­mu­sic.com


South­ern Drawl Whirl­wind He’s best known for his day job with singer Jamie Cul­lum. But for the past five years trum­peter and com­poser Rory Sim­mons has spent his down­time ex­plor­ing the fron­tiers of im­pro­vised and com­posed mu­sic with 11-piece en­sem­ble Fringe Mag­netic. Now he tacks in the other di­rec­tion, strip­ping his new group back to just three, with Troyka gui­tarist Chris Mon­tague and Kairos 4tet drum­mer Jon Scott. Mon­o­cled Man is down­town New York edgi­ness meets north­ern Euro­pean cool, with an adrenalin in­jec­tion of raw Lon­don punk en­ergy. You will hear echoes of Dave Dou­glas’s in­flu­en­tial Tiny Bell trio, but Sim­mons is his own mu­si­cian with some­thing to say, and he proves here that he’s more than ca­pa­ble of fill­ing the spa­ces in the ex­posed set­ting of a trio. ro­rysim­mons.com

Chad Hoopes (vi­o­lin), MDR Leipzig Ra­dio SO/Krist­jan Järvi

Naïve V 5368 Amer­i­can violinist Chad Hoopes was born in 1994. His de­but CD pairs a work first heard in Jan­uary of that year, the Vi­o­lin Con­certo by John Adams, with a sta­ple from the mid­dle of the 19th-century, the ever­green Con­certo in E mi­nor by Men­delssohn. Hoopes is ea­ger and lithe in the Men­delssohn, if at times a lit­tle breath­less. His tenac­ity and fleet­ness are heard to much bet­ter ef­fect in the Adams, a work the com­poser has de­scribed as a kind of “hy­per­me­lody”. The soloist has to keep in play al­most with­out a break, from the slid­ing har­monies of the first move­ment through a cen­tral cha­conne and into a moto per­petuo fi­nale. Hoopes plays with savoir faire as though it might have been writ­ten for him. See url.ie/8fjv

PHILIP GLASS: STRING QUAR­TETS NOS 2-5 Dublin Gui­tar Quar­tet

Or­ange Moun­tain Mu­sic 0092 The mu­sic of Philip Glass has al­ways been a strong sell­ing point for The Dublin Gui­tar Quar­tet. Af­ter all, the play­ers’ en­ter­pris­ing ar­range­ments re­ceived the bless­ing of the com­poser him­self. And the group’s lat­est CD of four Glass quar­tets – Com­pany, Mishima and Buczak, as well as the un­ti­tled No 5 – has the hon­our of be­ing is­sued on Glass’s own record la­bel. The gui­tar ver­sions have var­ied and well-thoughtout colour­ings, which are used with­out stray­ing too of­ten into the area of spe­cial ef­fects for their own sake. In fact, at their best – in most of No 5 – they al­low you to for­get that the mu­sic is de­rived from string orig­i­nals, with all that means in dif­fer­ence of sus­tain­ing power. url.ie/s177


An­dreas Hae­fliger (piano) Avie AV 2293 Swiss pi­anist An­dreas Hae­fliger’s Per­spec­tives se­ries for Avie does ex­actly what is says: it pre­sents new per­spec­tives by jux­ta­pos­ing pieces you mightn’t ex­pect to find to­gether. Here it’s four of Lu­ciano Be­rio’s “en­cores” (Er­den­klavier, Wasserklavier, Luftklavier and Feuerklavier) in­ter­spersed with sonatas by Beethoven (Op 14 No 2 in G and Op 109 in E) and Schu­mann (Fan­tasy in C). The se­quenc­ing cer­tainly meets Hae­fliger’s goal of bring­ing the at­mos­phere of a con­cert recital to the medium of CD. As you find with the menu of a well-planned meal, the whole is here more than the sum of its parts. The early and late Beethoven are ut­terly dis­tinct, and the Schu­mann a great, overwhelming out­pour­ing. url.ie/e8oo

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