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New Release Round-up, Jazz New Release Round-up - 22nd September, 2023

Ian Shaw (Image: James Christos)
Ian Shaw (Image: James Christos)

It seems the string’s the thing this week, as we have not one, not two, but three (!) terrific Scandinavian guitar albums for you. It’s 2-1 Norway as we have fresh releases from both newcomer Vetle Skåli who's Headed For Something, as well as the seasoned pro, Hedvig Mollestad and her new group, Weejuns. Direct from Sweden comes Alf Carlsson’s delicately balanced new record, Lights. In addition, there’s a fresh album from reputable vocalist and London-based icon Ian Shaw, who presents his Greek Street Friday – with a vinyl pressing still to come, we definitely recommend getting hip to this new release. Finally, there’s the dark and mysterious Yuri Honing with his melancholic new quartet release, Heaven On My Mind.

Shaw’s enjoyable new album is an evocative nod towards the popular styles of yesteryear, and much like the romantic image of Soho its title track conjures up, it’s eerily reminiscent of days gone by but with a familiarly modern touch. Steely Dan, Billy Joel and Michael McDonald are the big names this recording brings to mind, but you’d do well to take a deep dive and uncover the other influences standing at the crossroads of jazz, soul and pop who have inspired this tremendous vocal feat.

Available Format: CD

Available Format: Vinyl Record

Alf Carlsson

The young Swede delights as he draws from a well of fruitful sources on his debut album, whether it’s through the multi-layered ambient tracks or the raucously upbeat and rockier ones. This spritely player evokes the joyful lyricism of Pat Metheny as he commands the attested challenges of folk music with a sonorous bounce. We look forward to what the future has in store for him!

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Yuri Honing Quartet

The Dutch saxophonist returns for another powerful instalment of his unique mixture of passionate energy and sadness with his acoustic quartet. Deeply empathetic, Honing’s music is characterised by its minimalistic approach, resulting in an open atmosphere and a signature cool sound. Put on this relaxing blend of downtempo melancholia and find out for yourself why he’s come to be known as ‘the Nick Cave of jazz’.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Available Format: Vinyl Record

Vetle Skåli

Another polished debut from this Norwegian guitarist and his Skaali quartet. After two years of intense work, it’s a pleasure to finally experience the bandleader’s talents not only with the pick but with the pen (as the album’s thoughtful sequencing attests). With the vital inclusion of vibraphonist Amund Stenøien keeping a precise watch on things, the group’s connection with one another is certainly convincing. A modern band with a lot of brotherly soul.

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Hedvig Mollestad

Something of an established favourite here in the jazz department, the experimental Norwegian guitarist goes from strength to strength as she presents the latest incarnation of her madcap musical brain in the form of her new group, Weejuns. This trio marks a wildly inventive foray into the avant-garde direction of bands such as Henry Cow and Mahavishnu Orchestra whilst retaining a delightfully current bite. The encapsulating live double album comes as a welcome return for one of the most perplexing and original contemporary artists in Europe today.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Available Formats: 2 Vinyl Records, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC