Album Reviews

Nikki Yanofski: Nikki (Decca) £12.99

Yanofski is a 16-year-old Canadian singer who with this release makes a bit of history as the youngest vocalist to have a major-label contract. She's even been billed as the heir to Ella Fitzgerald, which is a big claim for her to carry. Clearly she's a remarkable talent with a bright, assertive delivery and she performs exceptionally well on the likes of Take the A Train and I Got Rhythm, backed by a team of crack studio musicians. The album is let down by some soupy pop material, but overall it's a remarkable debut. She's not there yet, but Yanofski has all the signs of a star in the making. AV

Colin Vallon: Rruga (ECM 274 9350) 12.99 This marks Swiss pianist Vallon's ECM debut, and it's an album of rare intensity. Teamed with bassist Patrice Moret and drummer Samuel Rohrer, Vallon opts for a richly melodic approach which he says is influenced as much by singers as instrumentalists. All the material is original, and the trio works through it with exceptional focus and attention to detail. Shading and dynamics are everything, and each performance builds a mood. There's a touch of world music influence, not least Turkish folk song, whose lilting intensity suits the atmosphere that Vallon creates. AV

Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 (LSO Live LSO0694) Elemental strength and violence drive the Fourth forward; a whirlwind tosses the Fifth's finale around in a hard and chillingly atmospheric landscape, and, more than in any other recording, each work is painted in long and bold statements. Taken from concert performances, Sir Colin Davis has the London Symphony in superb form as he presses forward in urgent tempos, the rather dry acoustic of London's Barbican exposing so much inner detail even in the orchestra's most fearsome outbursts. DD

Mozart: String Quartets Nos. 4, 17 & 22 (Harmonia Mundi HMC 902076) Completely satisfying, thoughtful and aristocratic performances clothed in the most beautiful and refined playing from the young Jerusalem Quartet, as meticulous over details of phrasing, expressive nuances and dynamics as any of today's much vaunted period instrument groups. They bring vivacity to the Hunt quartet; invest the Twenty-second with its full quota of drama and joy, and add sophistication to the youthful composer in the Fourth. Superbly balanced sound and fervently recommended. DD

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