Startlingly vivid and mature while essentially hugging the middle ground in the company of several line-ups the tracks with pianist Noah Stoneman and drummer Jason Brown are best but we are spoilt. These are 'Yeshaya,' 'Move 37' and 'Simulacra'. Anybody who has heard Stoneman live will know that he is the most exciting new pianist to emerge on the UK scene since Kit Downes first surfaced in 2007 in the original line-up of Empirical. And he's alert and agile here. Hitchcock's tunes are outstanding and his very fine technique catnip for tenor sax lovers. My only issue is that the number of line-ups makes it feel like several albums are trying to break out in miniature at once. In terms of dream bands Hitchcock is hedging his bets.
The only cover is the Duke Ellington rarity 'Azalea' released first on The Great Reunion with Louis Armstrong in 1963, (if you like the Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh standard 'Witchcraft' that Sinatra made his own in the 50s you'll be right at home with a scrap of the melody here) Hitchcock stunning in a Coleman Hawkins-like vein on the track in a musical conversation with Midori Jaeger who accompanies with plucked cello and then sings. Begs to be heard.
Hitchcock, above, photo via Bandcamp