Top in 20 quartet album: James Copus, Dusk, Ubuntu

We've had quite a few compelling trumpet-led jazz albums in 2020 from the likes of Byron Wallen, Ambrose Akinmusire and Linley Hamilton. And now another. Copus is the least known of these names and Dusk will be a surprise to many. It is a world …

Published: 26 Nov 2020. Updated: 11 months.

We've had quite a few compelling trumpet-led jazz albums in 2020 from the likes of Byron Wallen, Ambrose Akinmusire and Linley Hamilton. And now another. Copus is the least known of these names and Dusk will be a surprise to many. It is a world class outcome.

A quartet record with Tom Cawley on piano and keys, Conor Chaplin on bass and Jason Brown on drums it has serious, brooding intent Copus' pure and tough trumpet sound soaring over busy hard bop rhythms that veer away from the norm and show a powerful imagination at play.

Of the seven tunes I'd go for 'Outro' or 'From the Source' most. But to be honest they all work on one level or another although I could do without the vocalisations Copus layers in on a few tracks. Surely, however, one of the debuts of 2020 that punches above its weight big time. Ian Carr smiling down from a celestial space or chilling one would hope may well be providing abiding light because Copus keeps his spark as ignition and achieves lift off.

marlbank albums of the year will be published on Thursday 31 December round midnight

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Top in 20 overall band album: Gilfema, Three, Sounderscore

Best and top band album in 2020 it was patently obvious that the Massimo Biolcati-produced Three by meta guitar/vocals-bass-drums trio Gilfema is a 5-star album. Truth be told marlbank did not want to switch it off. At all. This new one is full of …

Published: 26 Nov 2020. Updated: 11 months.

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Best and top band album in 2020 it was patently obvious that the Massimo Biolcati-produced Three by meta guitar/vocals-bass-drums trio Gilfema is a 5-star album. Truth be told marlbank did not want to switch it off. At all. This new one is full of absorbing tunes, there is a real lilting warmth to the sound and a lot of interplay between the three developing in often surprising and engrossing ways. The band soaked in Afrojazz and a deep understanding of the blues splicing it all with a progressive jazz sensibility delivered in the moment, a masterclass in flow (eg on the new record especially the jaw dropping 'Algorythm and Blues'), came together at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz under the musical direction of Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock, Lionel Loueke subsequently joining both Blanchard and Herbie's bands and gifting the world 'Benny's Tune.'

Gilfema recorded a brace of well received albums and later became the Lionel Loueke Trio for a decade of music together recording on Blue Note.

Tunes are: Têkê (L. Loueke) 5:19; Little Wing (J. Hendrix) 3:24; Lé (L. Loueke) 3:07; Happiness (Ferenc Nemeth) 3:30; 13th Floor to Heaven (L. Loueke, M. Biolcati) 5:22; Brio (L. Loueke, M. Biolcati) 3:29; Fleuve Congo (L. Loueke) 2:32; Algorythm and Blues (L. Loueke, M. Biolcati) 4:58; Dear J.L. (L. Loueke) 4:52; Aflao (L. Loueke) 4:45; Left Undone (L. Loueke, M. Biolcati) 5:16; Requiem for a Soul (F. Nemeth) 4:09; Until (M. Biolcati) 3:23. What Loueke is doing on 'Happiness' is ridiculous, playing on top of a load of polyrhythms. An extremely beautiful record. Immerse yourself in every track and sweat all the detail particularly if you are a student of the music and think about transcribing big portions of Three. More via the Sounderscore website. SG

marlbank albums of the year will be published on Thursday 31 December round midnight