One of the strongest UK releases by a new artist this year, First Quartet is a remarkable debut by guitarist James Kitchman. It's so assured and together as a statement and you'd swear Kitchman even on a blindfold listen was a grizzled veteran around for decades. The sound is quite progressive hewn from hard bop and jazz-rock landing in the sort of area that say Tom Ollendorff operates and facilitated by very strong interplay between the leader, pianist Bruno Heinen, bassist Tom McCredie and drummer Shane Forbes. The sound is expansive and the tunes make sense. You get a certain heat generated organically on a track like 'Once for RA' so First Quartet is by no means an overly clinical minimalist affair. Quite the contrary in many places. Kitchman grew up in Northumberland and studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London. You can hear him with this fine quartet live at the Vortex on Thursday night.