Album Reviews

Jools Holland – The Best Of Finding The Keys (Rhino) £10.99: This greatest hits album features 20 tracks selected by Jools himself. Eighteen have appeared on previous albums, plus one live and one new track. Two toe-tapping instrumentals aside, most tracks feature collaborations with prominent artists including Tom Jones, Eric Clapton, Beverley Knight and David Gray. The latter provides a short but sweet version of the Dusty Springfield classic I Think It’s Going to Rain Today, making a great cover. An excellent addition to anyone’s collection whether you are a long-time fan or new to Jools Holland’s music. DT

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – Smoking In Heaven

It’s clear from the cover art of their second album that the trio of swinging siblings have grown up. But signs of maturity are more substantial than their plumes of cigarette smoke, extending to a daring mix of genres (ska and funk get a look in here as well as their cheerful rockabilly) and lyrics which tell of the heartbreak and longing they’re now old enough to be feeling. As ever, their dedication to analogue recording equipment lends their music a genuine old-time sound, and the absence of cover versions isn’t just a phase. LW

Dale – Piano Sonata/Bowen, Miniature Suite (Hyperion CDA67827): Sadly never to fully recover from First World War events, the precociously gifted Benjamin Dale had composed his Piano Sonata aged 19. Lasting over 40 minutes, its central series of variations provides this gorgeous work with many changing moods that bristle with virtuosity. Completing this disc with two of his shorter works and York Bowen’s charming Miniature Suite is another special young man, Danny Driver. Technically superb, he has the gift of innate musicianship that illuminates the music’s every twist and turn. DD

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Borodin – Second String Quartet/Piano Quintet/Cello Sonata (Praga Digitals PRD 250282): Music made famous by the film Kismet, Borodin’s second quartet has become his best-known work, the central Nocturne having been transcribed in so many arrangements. Here played with sensitivity by the superb Prazak Quartet, the disc also gives a rare airing to the Piano Quintet, the pianist, Jaromir Klepac, driving the work forward with dramatic vibrancy. He also brings a potent partnership to Michal Kanka’s robust account of the Cello Sonata. Warm and detailed recording. DD

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