Lead-off track from Miles Okazaki's upcoming album Thisness streams

Start the day with this formidably grooving futuristic sounding quartet track 'I'll Build a World' from guitarist Miles Okazaki's Thisness to be released by the Pi label in late-March. Okazaki is with his Trickster band of avant pianist Matt …

Published: 11 Jan 2022. Updated: 17 days.

Start the day with this formidably grooving futuristic sounding quartet track 'I'll Build a World' from guitarist Miles Okazaki's Thisness to be released by the Pi label in late-March. Okazaki is with his Trickster band of avant pianist Matt Mitchell and Okazaki's fellow Steve Coleman players drummer Sean Rickman and expat Brit bass guitarist Anthony Tidd. You can't take anything for granted on an Okazaki record as the solos twist and turn in exhilarating fashion and there's a lot to dive into here. We'll bring you more on the album nearer release time. Miles Okazaki photo: Twitter

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Pablo Held, Meet Me at the Loft, Own label ****

What a feast. The Loft is a club in the German city of Cologne where pianist Pablo Held has hosted numerous concerts with a wide range of guests over the years. On this generous live album blessed with a piano sound that is often rich and sonorous …

Published: 11 Jan 2022. Updated: 17 days.

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What a feast. The Loft is a club in the German city of Cologne where pianist Pablo Held has hosted numerous concerts with a wide range of guests over the years. On this generous live album blessed with a piano sound that is often rich and sonorous there is an extraordinary array of talent including familiar names Kit Downes, Jorge Rossy, Gary Husband, Jasper Høiby, Norma Winstone, Ben Monder, Julian Argüelles and also along the way there is also the familiarity of a standard like 'Nefertiti' or 'Little Melonae' but just as importantly lots of less well-known material. Gary Husband injects a lot of heat on the pulsating Jan Hammer piece 'Thorn of a White Rose' while there's a poetic vocal from Norma Winstone' on 'Wintersweet' a piece she wrote with Kenny Wheeler and which appeared on 1990s Azimuth album How It Was Then … Never Again. Ben Monder's rendering of 'Late Green' (which was on the guitarist's 1990s trio album Dust) is easily one of the best things here. A treasure trove of an album all in all. As the years go by our admiration for Held just lifts higher and higher and he keeps incredible company here to amplify that effect. On Bandcamp