Seb Rochford and Kit Downes in duo and the evocative 1950s-esque Maridalen are heading to the Aberdeen Jazz Festival

A hot spot for jazz in Scotland at the moment centred on the Blue Lamp the line-up of the Aberdeen Jazz Festival is: Roo and Neil, Maridalen, Martin Kershaw Octet and Rachel Duns Duo, Atom Eyes, SNJO's Peter and the Wolf, Son Al Son Feat. Tania …

Published: 7 Feb 2023. Updated: 12 months.

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A hot spot for jazz in Scotland at the moment centred on the Blue Lamp the line-up of the Aberdeen Jazz Festival is: Roo and Neil, Maridalen, Martin Kershaw Octet and Rachel Duns Duo, Atom Eyes, SNJO's Peter and the Wolf, Son Al Son Feat. Tania Fahey Palma & Melodie Fraser, Seb Rochford and Kit Downes, Georgia Cécile & Fraser Urquhart, Kyla Brox, Dee Don Danube, The Vintage Girls Orchestral Spectacular, Remembering Chet, Raf Ferrari Quartet, Dock in Absolute / Dave Milligan Solo, Rhyme Lounge Sessions, Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band, Soundbath, Jazz The Day, Fergus McCreadie and Matt Carmichael, Magro, Funk Connection, Mary May - Best of Billie Holiday, Tim Kliphuis Jazz Four Seasons and Torus.

Seb Rochford who is from Abderdeen readers will be familiar with the recent A Short Diary our pick of the month for January that finds Kit Downes as guide and interpreter of Rochford's compositions and is far less oblique than he can be - and certainly last year's wonderful Vermillion is a completely different aspect to his artistry - and it is fascinating the clarity that Rochford's musical lines delineate. 'Ten Of Us' - Rochford is one of 10 brothers and sisters - is the most significant of the pieces and the drummer is very good here and elsewhere at stealthily entering the musical scene after Downes clears and explains somehow melding serenity with a painterly Debussy like impressionism in some passages expert at creating not just the ultimate culminating note but contributing meaningfully to its if you like after-note meaning via cadential weight and sheer empathy. The album was recorded at Rochford’s childhood home in Scotland and again sense of place is significant here given how often distance from things we hold dear can be such an obstacle even more psychological than physical.

Maridalen from Norway impressed us most of all with their 2021 self titled debut which had almost rockabilly double bass once you get into it with a sort of a Jimmy Giuffre-type atmosphere hard baked into the ambience to boot. Bortenfor the follow-up we didn't quite like as much but it still resonated given the high conceptual level the band achieves. The presence of trumpet - it's Pixel's Jonas Kilmork Vemøy no less - is almost an afterthought because the Maridalen sound is greater than the sum of the parts and is a collective unity. From Norway the band sound as if they were born in a jazz club and yet they made that particular ground breaking first album in a church. Dates are 16-26 March. Website

Seb Rochford, above. Maridalen, main photo

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Track of the week - Kasper Tranberg, Circle Dance, April Records

Instead of guitar, tenor saxophone and of course drums as on the One Time Out (Soul Note, 1989) Motian/Frisell/Lovano version that introduced the Motian piece the Kasper Tranberg Nobody's Heart version is still a trio but trumpet-led - the whole …

Published: 7 Feb 2023. Updated: 12 months.

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Instead of guitar, tenor saxophone and of course drums as on the One Time Out (Soul Note, 1989) Motian/Frisell/Lovano version that introduced the Motian piece the Kasper Tranberg Nobody's Heart version is still a trio but trumpet-led - the whole thing beginning with a stillness that upends the point of entry. Tranberg showboating? Not really at least at first, just declaring a musical premise which is almost like a mournful sundown lights out call which is then wakened sleeplessly by the ensemble, drummer Frands Rifbjerg very un-Motian like the way he scoops up inverted puddles of sound, the bass line hardly heard there much for now early on. Tranberg's version of the melody is less earthy than Lovano's and he does play the soloist maybe a bit more as he proceeds and makes the piece his own given how convincing the treatment is. His tone is incredibly characterful and supported beefily by the drummer.

There aren't many versions of the Motian piece out there by other people. So given this what a very good curatorial choice as otherwise it becomes so dull hearing the same pieces covered so often. Also check out Johnathan Blake's 2014 version from the drummer's quartet two-sax album Gone But Not Forgotten version where Chris Potter and Mark Turner vie to out fox one another.

Tranberg's treatment is found on a springtime release new from the Danish April Records label based on a Copenhagen concert hall recording dating back to last year. Detail from the Nobody's Heart sleeve, photo: April