MultiTraction Orchestra, Reactor One, Superpang ***1/2

A six part suite from a collection of players who are leaders and individual instrumentalists of note in their own right. Nordic icon Arve Henriksen plus reedist James Allsopp, harpist Rhodri Davies, cellist Kate Ellis, bass guitarist Ruth Goller of …

Published: 9 Feb 2023. Updated: 12 months.

A six part suite from a collection of players who are leaders and individual instrumentalists of note in their own right. Nordic icon Arve Henriksen plus reedist James Allsopp, harpist Rhodri Davies, cellist Kate Ellis, bass guitarist Ruth Goller of Let Spin renown, Go Go Penguin's Jon Scott and adventurous guitarist MultiTraction Orchestra leader Alex Roth are the personnel.

Henriksen dominates initially as lead voice and that fragile ethereal sound of his as so often lighting up something inside. On the second of the two pieces the textural side of this assemblage of Roth inspired recordings created mostly remotely and then edited comes more to the fore with Allsopp on tenor, a stark keening presence on top of the industrial sounding rhythmical blend Scott sounding as if he is banging bin lids. Davies shifts matters to a gossamer light fairyland at the beginning of the third piece and on the next track it's more the role of Ellis who calls the shots. So you can sense each piece has its own storyline, the writing is not at all sectional but it certainly is as modernistic as avant-electronica.

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The fifth section goes way down into a deep register and there is an avant fracturing here that produces a pleasing intensity and where Roth and Goller joust and upend our expectations in a blur of ensemble primal scream.

While categorising is a waste of time the sound in unity and quantity terms works - we'd love to see this line-up live. A lot of production work has gone into the recording and makes the approaches of so many differently inspired players cohere meaningfully and says much for Roth's gut instincts. Out on 7 April. Alex Roth, photo: Ada & Sobiesław Pawlikowscy

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Jacques Schwarz-Bart, The Harlem Suite, Ropeadope ***1/2

What grabbed me most here early on in this homage to Harlem framed by its interconnectedness with the Caribbean by reliably inventive saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart was the treatment of Herbie Hancock and Benny Maupin's 'Butterfly,' one of …

Published: 9 Feb 2023. Updated: 12 months.

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What grabbed me most here early on in this homage to Harlem framed by its interconnectedness with the Caribbean by reliably inventive saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart was the treatment of Herbie Hancock and Benny Maupin's 'Butterfly,' one of Herbie's most covered pieces in recent years but one that lends itself as here to so many different arrangements and featuring a fine vocal by Schwarz-Bart's fellow Guadeloupean the singer Malika Tirolien known for her work with Snarky Puppy. Schwarz-Bart known for his explorations of Gwoka and voodoo musical cultures who has a very emotive flexible inflection to his sound also tackles John Coltrane's 'Equinox' here to put his own spin on the classic to make it a stately 'Equivox'. Full of a disaporic Afro Caribbean engagement personnel on the record include jazz A-listers Terri Lyne Carrington, Marcus Gilmore, Sullivan Fortner, Victor Gould, Matt Penman and Reggie Washington. Singer Stephanie McKay is also a significant presence on a couple of tracks. Schwarz-Bart's originals sit well with the classic numbers. Jacques Schwarz-Bart, photo: press

Out on 31 March

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