Ian Shaw|Drawn To All Things

Sometimes an album just comes out right: an artist on top of his game, at one with material he loves but doesn’t let seduce him, aided and abetted by a producer able to go lush or intimate, guests who are really close friends and a “band that plays so sneaky you can’t help how you feel.”

Guy Barker Quintet plus Frank Ricotti|Holly J

Trumpeter Barker is on imperious form, as he so often is on record. Live in clubs, a combination of audience pressure and long working hours can strain his lip, but in the studio he’s relaxed and confident, his tone brassy and full, and his notes never in danger of splitting.

Cassandra Wilson | Thunderbird

This feels like a transition disc. The singer, who overhauled her sound in 1993 to create one of the freshest new aesthetics in jazz, one anchored in the blues, is nudging at another sonic space here.

Dave Douglas | Keystone

The centrepiece of this 2-disc package is Fatty Arbuckle’s 1915 silent film Fatty and Mabel Adrift, for which Douglas has produced a score. Excellently mastered for DVD, the music comes timed to the movie, and runs as a continuous 34-minute package, plus a bonus suite built around other Arbuckle vignettes.

Toumani Diabaté | Boulevard de L'Independence

A DeMille like cast of musicians surrounds kora (harp-lute) master Toumani Diabate on this extraordinary, must-have album. Fifty third in a line of master Malian kora players, guardian of a illustrious musical heritage, Diabete has long showed an eagerness to venture along the side tracks of his ancestors.

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