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.