Twelve (IN+OUT Records)
Figarova (piano), Bart Platteau (flutes), Ernie Hammes (trumpet, flugelhorn), Marc Mommaas (saxes), Jeroen Vierdag (bass), Chris "Buckshot" Strik (drums).
Azerbaijan is not a country that springs to mind in a jazz context, but that is where Amina Figarova was born. Still a relative newcomer, this fine pianist is likely to be a big name before long.
She and her Belgian husband, flautist Bart Platteau, now live in New York where they are building a solid reputation.
Figarova leads the sextet in 12 of her own compositions, all colourful and evocative, with lots of contrast in mood, tempo and rhythm. The pianist down-plays her own role as leader, leaving plenty of space for the others to have their say. Flute and flugelhorn solos have a special appeal, while Mommaas shines on soprano sax. Bass and drums keep it subtle and graceful throughout.
The gently-paced Shut Eyes Sea Waves is a highlight. Another is Make it Happen, featuring sparkling trumpet and piano solos. The final track, Maria's Request, is a tranquil trio number for piano, bass flute and bass.
Walking Dark (Edition Records)
Jasper Hoiby (double bass), Ivo Neame (piano), Anton Eger (drums).
Heard recently in Dublin and Sligo, and billed for the Cork Jazz Festival later this month, this trio has been tipped as a successor to the Esbjorn Svensson Trio. However, it has a definite mind of its own, with the accent on creativity and invention. The rapport between the three is evident in Neame's Passing Clouds, Hoiby's Suede Trees and Eger's Zieding.
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Evan Christopher's Django a la Creole plays a delightful mix of jazz manouche and New Orleans improvisation. The group's tour takes it to Dundalk tonight, then on to Clifden, Carrick-on Shannon, Letterkenny and Drogheda.
Two of the world's top trumpeters are among the headliners at the Cork Jazz Festival (October 26-29): Roy Hargrove, who leads a quintet, and Wallace Roney, who will pay tribute to Miles Davis. Details on www.guinnessjazzfestival.com
Sunday Indo Living