Christoph Irniger & Pilgrim, Ghost Cat, Intakt ***

There's something very elemental about this recording. Full of clean, sleek lines, big bold saxophone playing and firm harmonic and rhythmic support that allows the piano playing of Stefan Aeby to break free and for the drumming lines of Michael …

Published: 9 Jan 2023. Updated: 19 days.

There's something very elemental about this recording. Full of clean, sleek lines, big bold saxophone playing and firm harmonic and rhythmic support that allows the piano playing of Stefan Aeby to break free and for the drumming lines of Michael Stulz to seem so independent on 'Marvel' there is a real sense of outstanding flow. You wonder if this sheer effort can be maintained. Aeby's solution is a spiky chopped rhythmical onslaught on 'Seven Down Eight Up' where the whole band even saxist Christoph Irniger in the set-up become a sized up percussive unit. A studio recording made last spring in Lugano the Swiss quintet pivot meaningfully from the free-ish spiritual domain to a chugging rockist counter intuitive burst sometimes the latter sense provided by guitarist Dave Gisler's Marc Ribot like sense of upsetting the apple cart.

The title track has a serenity that this record is not afraid to delve into. Mostly Irniger's tunes this experienced band delivers in carving out a sense beyond what you might expect even when you think that you can read their moves and the Charles Lloyd-like turn of events on 'Calling the Spirits' is a pleasant surprise. Bassist Raffaele Bossard's composition towards the end is perhaps too tentative but 'Walking With Dinosaurs' completing an album that never outstays its welcome which Bossard leads off certainly isn't and the more extrovert this band prove as here the more successful the record ultimately becomes. Worth your while - Pilgrim are so much better than when they released Crosswinds. Out on 20 January.

'Marvel' and 'Ghost Cat' are streaming ahead of release.

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Future of Nottingham venue Peggy's Skylight up in the air

Nottingham jazz venue Peggy's Skylight has a fight on its hands. The venue is looking for signatures in their campaign against Nottingham City Council who are planning to sell the Peggy’s Skylight building at auction next month. Business owners …

Published: 9 Jan 2023. Updated: 19 days.

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Nottingham jazz venue Peggy's Skylight has a fight on its hands. The venue is looking for signatures in their campaign against Nottingham City Council who are planning to sell the Peggy’s Skylight building at auction next month. Business owners Rachel Foster and Paul Deats who also perform as vocals-piano duo Me & Mr Jones have a lease for 10 years and want to buy the property but need six months to secure funding. Nearly 1,000 people have signed their petition at the time of writing. ''I absolutely love going to Peggy’s Skylight in this beautiful building,'' says George Greszczuk who has signed the petition. ''It’s unique and a real gem for us in Nottingham and I and many others would be very sad to lose it. The music and food are excellent. Please allow Peggy’s to remain open in this great venue''. Another supporter on the change.org site where the petition is hosted Debs Hancock adds similar sentiments typical of the many comments on the site: ''Peggy's Skylight is an important jazz destination both for audiences and musicians. It quickly became a key venue for jazz and associated music 7 days a week, surviving the pandemic and all its associated problems, to become one of the best jazz clubs in the country.''

Rachel Foster and Paul Deats of Peggy's Skylight, photo: press