Album Reviews

Trichotomy: The Gentle War (Naim) £12.99

Along with EST, The Bad Plus and Neil Cowley, Trichotomy appear to be reshaping the traditional piano trio format. Pianist John Parker, bassist Pat Marchisella and drummer John Parker achieve an admirable balance between melodicism and a sharp edge, which sees them slipping between notated and free passages. That makes for a sense of creative tension underpinned by a rhythmic urgency. It's fresh and sometimes furious jazz that never slips into the predictable. Trichotomy play the Seven Arts centre, in Leeds, on February 18. AV

Sarah Gillespie: In the Current Climate (Pastiche Records PR00001) Amazon and iTunes only

Gillespie is one of the most eclectic singers around, and this excellent new release finds her weaving diverse influences, as well as political polemic, into a swirling and original whole. The support of the fiery altoist Gilad Atzmon is a big plus as Gillespie works her way through her own lyrics with command and expressiveness. There is sometimes furious energy on performances that bring together urban folk and Middle Eastern flavours. Gillespie plays The Junction, Goole, on January 28. AV

Lyapunov: Violin Concerto, First Symphony. Naxos 8.570462

Lyapunov was a pupil of Tchaikovsky and admired Balakirev. So far so promising. Romantic warmth and bold colour characterise his D Minor concerto, beautifully projected by soloist Maxim Fedotov with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra under Dmitry Yablonsky. Sadly Lyapunov lacked his mentors' gifts for memorable melody to lift it into the first rank. That said, the Symphony in B minor is worth hearing for its wistful andante and delicate scherzo. The recording quality is bright and clear. RC

Sibelius: Symphonies 4 and 5. Naxos, 8.572227.

The opening bars of the fourth symphony induce a shiver as Sibelius etches that vast, desolate landscape. That it is so superbly captured by the young Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra bodes well for the rest of this disc. One is not disappointed. The cool colouring, crisp detail and rhythmic precision of the fifth make this an account to savour. The woodwind and brass playing are excellent and the Naxos engineers capture it all splendidly. RC