The Jakob Manz Project, The Answer, ACT ***

Super slick, super talented alto saxophonist Jakob Manz flies the flag here for funky jazz-rock - the sort of easy to get down to sound that David Sanborn and Maceo Parker do so well. And on tracks here like the easy standout 'When Weasles Fly' …

Published: 27 Jan 2024. Updated: 31 days.

Super slick, super talented alto saxophonist Jakob Manz flies the flag here for funky jazz-rock - the sort of easy to get down to sound that David Sanborn and Maceo Parker do so well. And on tracks here like the easy standout 'When Weasles Fly' with a charged up band powered by Paul Albrecht on drums it's easy to get into the zone. Elsewhere the Lionel Loueke guest slot doesn't work so well because Loueke's style is so different and sticks out a bit when all the band seem to want to do is funk. As for the title track it's not a million miles from smooth jazz - so you've been warned.

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Arve Henriksen and Harmen Fraanje, Touch of Time, ECM ****

An intimate trumpet and piano duo album for the philosophers among us. While you sort of know what you are going to get with an Arve Henriksen record and that is no bad thing given how unique his fragile highly individual trumpet intellectualised …

Published: 27 Jan 2024. Updated: 31 days.

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An intimate trumpet and piano duo album for the philosophers among us. While you sort of know what you are going to get with an Arve Henriksen record and that is no bad thing given how unique his fragile highly individual trumpet intellectualised sound is, nevertheless this takes you to intimate places as if for the first time. The Norwegian has a soul mate here in Dutch pianist Harmen Fraanje on a less-is-more recording that you certainly wouldn't put on to get the party started. But for deep, serious, contemplative thoughtful meditations often framed in deft modal progressions it is perfect. Henriksen's fragile ache of a tone sometimes aided by subtle use of electronics is as powerful as ever. Recorded in a Lugano studio produced once again by the master Manfred Eicher it's a beautiful release, most of the pieces kept relatively brief, with a taut sense of explorations in the themes and a sense of conversation between these two great players. I loved the introductory motif developed by Fraanje on 'Winter Haze' with a coating of electronics shrouding the pithy piano figure and so much expressed in such a tiny amount of time. SG. Arve Henriksen, photo: Dirk Neven/Wikimedia