Oud you believe it Snarky Puppy's Michael League and Bill Laurance embark on their own homage to Catalonia and way, way beyond

From January's upcoming Where You Wish You Were recording in Catalonia this delicious slice of oud and piano on 'Sant Esteve,' Catalan for Saint Stephen, marks the first stirrings from their new ACT label adventure. Couched in a very bluesy kind of …

Published: 3 Dec 2022. Updated: 57 days.

From January's upcoming Where You Wish You Were recording in Catalonia this delicious slice of oud and piano on 'Sant Esteve,' Catalan for Saint Stephen, marks the first stirrings from their new ACT label adventure. Couched in a very bluesy kind of Levantine cool - if you're into Dhafer Youssef and above all Rabih Abou-Khalil - it's your lucky day chilling to this pared-back meditation.

Michael League top left and Bill Laurance. Photo: Txus Garcia

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Lakecia Benjamin, New Mornings, Whirlwind ****

Drawn from the Terri Lyne Carrington produced Phoenix out on 27 January muted trumpet from Josh Evans is one big talking point when the tune spools into another dimension later on but we are getting ahead of ourselves because the main focus alto …

Published: 2 Dec 2022. Updated: 57 days.

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Drawn from the Terri Lyne Carrington produced Phoenix out on 27 January muted trumpet from Josh Evans is one big talking point when the tune spools into another dimension later on but we are getting ahead of ourselves because the main focus alto saxist Lakecia Benjamin is soulful and highly persuasive. The tempo is pushed hard by drummer EJ Strickland. Prominent in the groove plucking hard Gregory Porter bass ace Jahmal Nichols turns in a winning role. The piano comping from Victor Gould with dubbed organ fed in for dramatic effect later is undemonstrative in the mix but highly effective nevertheless. Who'll like this most? Anyone into UK saxist Rachael Cohen for starters and sheer groove above and beyond.

Lakecia Benjamin, photo via Whirlwind