Kevin Figes, Wallpaper Music II, Pig Records ***1/2

Singer Brigitte Beraha makes her presence felt from the very beginning and certainly if you are a Beraha fan this latest from saxophonist composer Kevin Figes is a fine setting to encounter her once again in. With Figes too once again are …

Published: 7 Jan 2024. Updated: 49 days.

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Singer Brigitte Beraha makes her presence felt from the very beginning and certainly if you are a Beraha fan this latest from saxophonist composer Kevin Figes is a fine setting to encounter her once again in. With Figes too once again are keyboardist Jim Blomfield, bassist Ashley John Long and drummer Mark Whitlam all familiar from the first in this Wallpaper series issued in 2021. The band draws from the artier subset of 1970s jazz-rock as a core to their sound - and 'Blank Out' and 'Walk On' sound like songs that could happily have appeared on a Robert Wyatt album. There is certainly an experimental animus at work (most pronounced on one of the most interesting tracks, 'Shame', later). Not exactly a cheery listen it's true and Blomfield even hints as much in his soloing on the brief 'Sad Piano' track. But there's a non-maudlin contemplativeness at play that keeps you listening. Beraha's best bits are her scatting on 'The Time Has Come,' an adventurousness firmly anchored by Blomfield on Rhodes electric piano and later when she harmonises with Figes on 'Mock Turtle' her ingenuity as an improviser continues to keep us guessing. SG

Out on 23 February. Kevin Figes pictured, top. Dates coming up include St George's in Bristol on 25 February.

Tags: reviewsUK/Ireland-led, by lead artist(s) in reviews

Gig choice for 8-14 Jan

Liane Carroll Watermill Jazz, Dorking Tuesday Victoria Geelan The Black Box, Belfast Tuesday John Parricelli 606, London Tuesday Alan Barnes Morley Green Club, Wilmslow Tuesday Stuart MacDonald The Cask, Scarborough Wednesday Sebastian Rochford and …

Published: 6 Jan 2024. Updated: 51 days.

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Liane Carroll Watermill Jazz, Dorking Tuesday

Victoria Geelan The Black Box, Belfast Tuesday

John Parricelli 606, London Tuesday

Alan Barnes Morley Green Club, Wilmslow Tuesday

Stuart MacDonald The Cask, Scarborough Wednesday

Sebastian Rochford and Kit Downes Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich Wednesday

Straight 8s Big Band ft. Dennis Rollins The Lescar, Sheffield Wednesday

Dave Cottle Trio Cu Mumbles, Swansea Wednesday

Pete Long and Ryan Quigley quintet Sports Ground, Guildford Wednesday

Scott Hamilton Quartet Concorde, Eastleigh Wednesday

Kevin Flanagan Stoke By Nayland Hotel, Leavenheath Wednesday

Julian Nicholas The Wick Inn, Hove Wednesday

Jonny Mansfield Quartet The Musician, Leicester Thursday

Sound of Blue Note Hen and Chicken, Bristol Thursday

Elchin Shirinov trio Peggy's Skylight, Nottingham Thursday

Lulu Pierre Quartet Pizza Express Jazz Club, London Thursday

Ali Watson Quartet The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen Thursday

Jonny Mansfield Quartet The Verdict, Brighton Friday

Sebastian Rochford and Kit Downes Turner Sims, Southampton Friday

Greg Foat Ronnie Scott's, London Friday

Nikki Yeoh Vortex, London Friday

Scott Hamilton Quartet Lighthouse, Poole Friday

Scott Flanigan Scott's, Belfast Friday

Martin Kershaw The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh Friday

Sharp Little Bones featuring Tony Kofi 1000 Trades, Birmingham Friday

Jasper Høiby's 3 Elements The Verdict, Brighton Saturday

Brigitte Beraha and Lucid Dreamers The Jazz Centre, Southend Saturday afternoon

Alan Barnes trio The Hound Dog, Derby Saturday

Jean Toussaint Quartet Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield Saturday

Jonny Mansfield Quartet The Hive, Shrewsbury Saturday

Liane Carroll and Malcolm Edmonstone Cooper Hall, Frome Sunday afternoon

Jean Toussaint, pictured, plays Sheffield on Sat 13th