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Tom Gibbs: Fear of Flying

Today sees the release of pianist Tom Gibbs‘ new album, Fear of Flying, on the Whirlwind Recordings label. It contains nine original pieces by Gibbs, performed by a quartet which has saxophonist Will Vinson, bassist Euan Burton and drummer James Maddren alongside Gibbs on piano.

It’s Tom Gibbs’ first release as sole leader, his previous release, 2010’s highly-enjoyable Forgotten Things, having been co-led by Euan Burton. (Burton also released his own fine album Occurrences on Whirlwind earlier this year).

Early reviews of Fear of Flying have been pretty favourable: Bebop Spoken Here, Marlbank.

The band will be touring to promote the album in late November. I’m not sure if their Glasgow performance at the BBC on November 21st will be open to the public, but they’re playing in Aberdeen on the 22nd and Edinburgh on the 24th before going on to Newcastle, Leeds, Cardiff, London and Poole.

Konrad Wiszniewski and Euan Stevenson: New Focus

Also on Whirlwind Recordings is New Focus, Konrad Wiszniewski and Euan Stevenson‘s album inspired by, but not merely imitative of, Stan Getz’s classic Focus. It’s written for jazz quartet (Wiszniewski on tenor and occasional soprano sax, Stevenson on piano, Whirlwind label boss Michael Janisch on bass and Alyn Cosker on drums), string quartet and piano. Konrad and Euan wrote half the pieces each, and Euan did the arrangements.

This is officially released on November 5th, although they sold quite a few advance copies at last month’s Glasgow gig (and presumably the Edinburgh one the night before). There’s a big launch event during next month’s London Jazz Festival and gigs in New Lanark and Aberdeen towards the end of next month.

The album combines strong melodic material, inventive string arrangements and, above all, some first-class jazz improvisation. It’s romantic and atmospheric without ever becoming MOR or schmaltzy. I really it’s rather special. And I’m not the only one: Rob Adams described it in his Herald review as a “superb recording…gorgeous and easily accessible”.

Breach: Borders

Finally – and on their own label, not on Whirlwind – Paul Harrison, Graeme Stephen and Chris Wallace‘s organ, guitar and drums band Breach release their second album Borders on October 24th.

They’re playing the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh that night and Glasgow Art Club on Thursday 25th as the first two nights of a tour which goes on to Aberdeen and various venues in England and Wales (again including a London Jazz Festival show).

Rob Adams’ interview with Paul Harrison from Friday’s Herald.

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