North by northwest the Manchester Jazz Festival is currently happening and tomorrow tenorist Alex Hitchcock's Dream Band, in The Yard, are an eye-catching element within Steve Mead's long-running festival. Dream Band released by Catalan label Fresh Sound New Talent towards the tail end of last year was startlingly vivid and mature while essentially hugging the middle ground in the company of several line-ups.
The band (Cary Grant has been unavailable since 1986) that Hitchcock, above, another master of suspense in the making, though has with him is revealed by the organisers as: top-notch altoist Rachael Cohen; gifted pianist Deschanel Gordon heard compellingly last year on Brick Lane with Mark Kavuma during his 91 Living Room residency; stirring bassist Joe Downard and Empirical great, drummer Shaney Forbes. Hitchcock's own tunes are outstanding and his very fine technique certainly catnip for tenor sax lovers. Click for tickets