BBC Music Magazine
The compositions on Affinity, the third album by Followed By Thirteen, are largely inspired by people and places that have special meaning for Henrik Jensen, the quartet’s leader. Bassist Jensen is flanked by
Rory Simmons (trumpet, flugelhorn),
Esben Tjalve (piano) and Pete Ibbetson (drums). Affecting ballads and stimulating up-tempo pieces contribute to a well-balanced set full of evocative compositions and superb solos by each member of the quartet. Much as I approve of the cutting-edge sub-genres of jazz, it would be a shame if we neglected the more classic approaches evinced in this beautiful album. (Babel Records BDV 19157 ) ★★★★★
Keyboards whizz Ivo Neame and virtuoso percussionist Jim Hart have worked together in a number of contexts, including as a duo, but Multiverse is their debut album as a twosome, although this is effectively a trio, since producer Matt Calvert has added new layers to Hart and Neame’s performances by sampling and overdubbing.
The result is a stimulating mix of contemplative pieces like ‘Au Contraire’ and ‘Back Home’, bustling grooves, angular explorations (‘Serie de Arco’, with minimal processing), sometimes building up a foreboding sense of expectation that draws you in. (Edition EDN 1147 ) ★★★
For Warmer Than Blood guitarist Chris Montague brings together electric-bassist Ruth
Goller and pianist Kit Downes in a programme of his beguilingly eccentric compositions. The instrumentation produces brittle textures in some anxious-sounding tracks, but in the more lyrical pieces the players’ graceful phrasing soothes ears and soul. The tunes have a variety of inspirations from love of Montague’s new-born son and grandmother to a rumination on whether limitless connectivity is a blessing or curse (‘The Internet’). The score of ‘Rendered’ was created by rubbing manuscript paper onto wood-chip wallpaper, but the attractively airy finished product seems thoughtfully developed. The lovely ‘Not My Usual Type’ deserves to become a standard. (Whirlwind WR4756) ★★★★
Stefano Bollani, born in Milan in 1972, grew up during that remarkable blossoming of Italian jazz of the 1980s and ’90s, He was busy making a reputation as a prodigy in the classical field, but turned to jazz in the mid-’90s. Aged 12, he had seen the film of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s musical, became obsessed with the score and has finally recorded Piano Variations on Jesus Christ Superstar using a piano tuned to 432 Hz, just because he loves the sound. The regard and understanding Bollani has for these tunes is abundantly evident in his improvisations, sometimes passionate, sometimes elegant, always respectful and cogent. (Alobar 1007 ) ★★★★
To The Earth is the latest wellwrought album by Dinosaur, fronted by the fine trumpeter Laura Jurd. Eschewing the electronics used on previous albums, she adds tenor horn to her trumpet and flugelhorn, producing a rich-hued sound and agile phrasing to match her work on her more accustomed horns.
The programme consists mainly of her nicely varied compositions, apart from Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Absinthe’ (given a suitably louche interpretation) and the collectively created piece
‘For One’ which has an almost majestic quality hinting at gospel harmony. Among other highlights is the down-home blues of ‘Slow Loris’, but all the pieces offer much pleasure, interest and satisfaction. (Edition EDN 1154) ★★★★