Another award for Nikki Iles as the acclaimed English pianist and composer follows Ivor success with a B. E. M.

Less than a month after winning an Ivor composition award for 'The Caged Bird' pianist and composer Nikki Iles is also, announced in the Queen's New Year Honours list, to become a recipient of a B. E. M, a medallist of the Order of the British …

Published: 1 Jan 2022. Updated: 27 days.

Less than a month after winning an Ivor composition award for 'The Caged Bird' pianist and composer Nikki Iles is also, announced in the Queen's New Year Honours list, to become a recipient of a B. E. M, a medallist of the Order of the British Empire, for services to music.

Well-known pieces by the Dunstable born 58-year-old composer, bandleader and academic whose playing style and pastoral sensibility to some shares a strong affinity with the music of John Taylor includes the ‘Printmakers Suite’ for the Creative Jazz Orchestra and extensive work for the jazz piano Associated Boards curriculum.

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Helge Lien trio, 'Krystall,' Ozella ****

Drawn from Revisited to be released in March in come bassist Johannes Eick and drummer Knut Aalefjær for Frode Berge and Per Oddvar Johansen to join their fellow Norwegian pianist Helge Lien. Aalefjær however is no stranger to playing in Lien's …

Published: 1 Jan 2022. Updated: 27 days.

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Drawn from Revisited to be released in March in come bassist Johannes Eick and drummer Knut Aalefjær for Frode Berge and Per Oddvar Johansen to join their fellow Norwegian pianist Helge Lien. Aalefjær however is no stranger to playing in Lien's trio and swaggers in at the beginning of the piece as if holding the cape for the pirouetting leader who treats us to a melodic somersault of light. Lien has a gift for melody and he also has a sweep to his improvisations that in the context of a trio find a natural home.

A substantial piece of more than 6 minutes that was even longer on the version heard on 10 released in 2019 its subtle new arrangement is enough to make the prospect of scratching this retrospective itch a formidable one. Check when the trio go very quiet and Lien etches a gospelly figure that sends the direction of the piece spooling off into a new space entirely. Eick, brother of internationally known trumpet star Mathias Eick, doesn't solo much but there is one naked passage halfway through the piece when he comes through very effectively. A great way then to usher in a new year of listening where the composer's skill as well as the improvisational and group-play nature of this collaboration conduct that fabled unicorn of a phenomenon – lightning in a bottle. Stephen Graham