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Fresu and di Bonaventura: gentle grace and subtlety, and an existentialist looking inward.

Paolo Fresu/Daniela di Bonaventura In Maggiore

Take the stark, often wistful trumpet and flugelhorn skills of Paolo Fresu and marry it with the chromatic, orchestral qualities of di Bonaventura's bandoneon. That's what you get on this no fuss, gently insinuating project.

  • There's nothing on concept caper Drones that 2009's The Resistance and 2012's The 2nd Law didn't do better

    Muse - Drones

    There's nothing on concept caper Drones that 2009's The Resistance and 2012's The 2nd Law didn't do better.

  • Master of the double bass: Ron Carter on the first album of his tunes recorded with a big band

    Ron Carter, WDR Big Band My Personal Songbook

    Ron Carter (born 1937) is a legend of the double bass and his collaboration with this Cologne-based Big Band is a richly-varied affair, with some notable solo work among the lush arrangements.

  • Wistful, playful, haunting - Songs of Thessaloniki

    Savina Yannatou Songs of Thessaloniki

    Listeners will be surprised to hear Salonika - the immortal Irish ballad popularised by Cork balladeer Jimmy Crowley - nestling among this eclectic collection which draws on the rich traditions of the Greek city of Thessaloniki.

  • Companionable and curiously open to the listener - Ken Peplowski and Alan Barnes

    Ken Peplowski & Alan Barnes At the Watermill

    There is something warmly intimate about this record, bright as a button, with pep in its step, as two acclaimed jazz veterans interact with a kind of restrained joy.

  • Runs rings around the competition

    Paul Weller - Saturns Pattern

    This 12th solo outing from the Saturnine elder statesman of the post-punk wars runs rings abound the competition

  • A celebration of Chic-like good times

    Snoop Dogg - Bush

    Snoop forgoes the sound that made him famous on this laid back thirteenth solo outing

  • Giovanni Guidi: inspired improvisation from a poet of the piano keys

    Giovanni Guidi Trio This is the Day

    There is a sense of oceanic presence about the best of the pieces on Giovanni Guidi Trio's second album for the ECM label.

  • The UK-based Velocity Trio: experimental daring.

    Dennis Rollins' Velocity Trio Symbiosis

    UK trombone veteran Dennis Rollins cooks up some funk-tinged, bluesy jazz and more moody chamber tunes on this second album from Velocity Trio, which also includes a lively take on Pink Floyd's Money.

  • Cocky synth pop bravado riddled with self-doubt

    The Wombats - Glitterbug

    The Wombats go from indie landfill to hyperventilating synth overkill on this tiresome and tawdry third album

  • Sound & Color is the sound of a band on a questing mission

    Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color

    The surprise break-out band of 2012 ditch the soul, blues, gospel gumbo for a more adventurous follow-up

  • Fluency and striking imagination: Wes Montgomery

    Wes Montgomery In the Beginning

    The Who's Peter Townshend idolised guitarist Wes Montgomery as a young teen and he writes a two-page appreciation of the musician in the liner notes to this delightful 2-Cd set.

  • Mark Murphy: the pathos is underlined all the more keenly by suave treatments that upend the expected mood of sadness in his versions of love songs.

    Mark Murphy Shadows

    Recorded in Slovenia over two days in June 1996, the Mark Murphy album, Shadows, was only released late last year, a rare, belated dispatch from the veteran jazz singer who Ella Fitzgerald regarded as one of the best.

  • Kenny Wheeler's valedictory: melancholy and sensual

    Kenny Wheeler Songs for Quintet

    The British jazz musician Kenny Wheeler recorded his last album, Songs for Quinitet at Abbey Road in December 2013, prior to his passing in September 2014, aged 84. The valedictory mood mixes melancholy, bluesy swing and Latin bravura.

  • A hugely accomplished debut album

    Cry Monster Cry - Rhythm of Dawn

    Dublin brothers Jamie and Richie Martin craft a spooked folk rock classic with their debut album