Benjamin Lackner, Circular Confidence, ECM ***

Track of the day: the unique touch of famed French drummer Manu Katché lifts the interest here significantly on a dreamy plangent ballad the melody led by the fine Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick. German-American pianist Benjamin ''Benny'' Lackner …

Published: 10 Sep 2022. Updated: 2 months.

Track of the day: the unique touch of famed French drummer Manu Katché lifts the interest here significantly on a dreamy plangent ballad the melody led by the fine Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick. German-American pianist Benjamin ''Benny'' Lackner is classy but a little anonymous in his soloing at first. That changes rapidly however as the piece unfolds the interest certainly enhanced by the harmonic detail provided by French bassist Jérôme Regard. And so eventually the hypnotic appeal of the plangent trumpet line on top achieves a certain convincing melancholia.

Lackner was born in Berlin in 1976 and moved to the US in his early teens before returning to Germany in the late-2000s. He's had a trio for two decades involving Regard here. The full record Last Decade from which this introductory piece is drawn and Lackner's first for the label consisting largely of his own originals is out in mid-October. Wasilewskian? Yes it's getting towards that exquisite calibre. We'll bring you a full album review on release.

The Benjamin Lackner quartet l-r Mathias Eick, Benjamin Lackner, Manu Katché, Jérôme Regard. Photo: bennylackner.com

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Connie Han, Secrets of Inanna, Mack Avenue *****

If you believe in a continuum - and we certainly do - the Chick Corea continuum that is, read on. And while we know that the music of Chick Corea is still around us through his many records, in terms of spirit and crucially an imaginative sound …

Published: 10 Sep 2022. Updated: 2 months.

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If you believe in a continuum - and we certainly do - the Chick Corea continuum that is, read on.

And while we know that the music of Chick Corea is still around us through his many records, in terms of spirit and crucially an imaginative sound world all of her own devising inspired by yes Sumerian legend and musically even more so by Corea what Connie Han does here is in a league of its own for full blown improvisational possibility and group play that sounds very in the moment.

'Prima Materia' proves sunny, cosmic, as much a daytime as a cool breeze-of-the-evening listen and has an open feel and the sound develops organically.

More broadly Secrets of Inanna uses the flute of Katisse Buckingham ideally, meaning flute as a flavour at the top of the sound not an overpowering taste.

Wayne Shorter quartet bass icon John Patitucci is pivotal once again on what is an exceptional record and while tenorist Rich Perry certainly has his moments the profile of drummer Bill Wysaske should soar given what he manages to do here because he is like Perry both powerful and tender throughout.

Han has a swagger that is all her own, Hiromi-like in its thundering power on more bravura passages perhaps, a top pianist who Corea championed when Hiromi now a major star was far lesser known.

Some might be distracted by what they might see as the preposterous nature of the ancient Mesopotamian concept - a very prog rock and indeed a Return to Forever notion in itself - but put that thought aside. Han, not a newcomer at all, for the first time seems more than ever destined to be the next superstar of jazz piano globally.

Out on 23 September. Tracks streaming so far are above

Connie Han, top, Photo: press

Read more on Han circa Iron Starlet

Connie Han plays Pizza Express Holborn with her trio who include drummer Bill Wysaske during the EFG London Jazz Festival on 13 November

Leaf through the full list of marlbank albums of the year here