Palle Mikkelborg, Jakob Bro, Marilyn Mazur, Strands, ECM ****

Jakob Bro has never sounded more brooding and stark than here on Strands. And we'd put that factor down to the mesmerising presence on this Danish supergroup of a trio of Palle Mikkelborg whose atmospheric trumpet playing is matched by the ever …

Published: 25 Nov 2023. Updated: 3 months.

Jakob Bro has never sounded more brooding and stark than here on Strands. And we'd put that factor down to the mesmerising presence on this Danish supergroup of a trio of Palle Mikkelborg whose atmospheric trumpet playing is matched by the ever expansive percussive ideas from Marilyn Mazur. A live album recorded at the Danish Radio Concert Hall earlier this year drawing on music from guitarist Bro's albums Returnings and Gefion, there is a beautful aching quality to the development of the pieces that always take their time and linger long in the imagination. Mikkelborg is superb throughout - I'd pick out 'Returnings' with its generous smears and dirty bluesiness as some of his best playing. And the spirit of Miles Davis you could even say hovers over the record, not surprising perhaps given both Mikkelborg and Mazur both collaborated with Miles. As for Bro he continues to conjure remarkable modal moods and on the title track particularly the sheer humanity of his sound shines through and always arrives kind of blue. SG

l-r: Palle Mikkelborg, Marilyn Mazur, Jakob Bro, photo: Jakob Jepsen/ECM

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Rupert Cox, Search Party, Albert's Favourites ****

This is a bit special to say the least - the debut of keyboardist Rupert Cox who has been regularly cropping up in these pages on other people's records lately. There's a lot fed in here ranging from clubbier beats on 'The Nowhere Dance' to more …

Published: 25 Nov 2023. Updated: 3 months.

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This is a bit special to say the least - the debut of keyboardist Rupert Cox who has been regularly cropping up in these pages on other people's records lately. There's a lot fed in here ranging from clubbier beats on 'The Nowhere Dance' to more sombre meditations. The moody vocals from Soren Bryce on the title track certainly also light the album up. It all just sounds very fresh, managing to swerve nu jazz clichés along the way, with songs written by Cox and Chris Hyson mainly. Snowpoet man Hyson produces and in the personnel Dave De Rose on drums, Linus Fenton on bass guitar, Yusuf Ahmed on percussion, Alex Haines and Thom Gill on guitar - Gill takes a fine featured spot on standout track 'Sanctuary' - Hyson himself on synths and Mohan Evans on vocals on the vivid 'Gold' figure. You can't really pin such an outstanding album down to anything too generic. And Cox's piano playing on the quietly moving 'Green Yellow Brown' is the icing on the cake.