At the grand old age of 28 (a mere stripling in jazz years..), Norwegian trumpeter/Jagga Jazzist mainstay Mathias Eick has taken the valve between his teeth and recorded his first album as leader. As belated entrances go, this has to be one of the year’s best, or at least most perfectly realised. Not so many ECM artists have moonlighted with a band as removed from Manfred Eicher’s toned-immaculate vibe as alt-rockers Motorpsycho, or freely cite Metallica (as well as the more discernible likes of Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, and Aphex Twin) as an influence, yet Eick represents a younger, leaner side to the label, and the amorphous arc of his talent is something to be heard.
Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick makes his ECM debut as a leader with this set, which features keyboardist Jon Balke and a guest appearance from Stian Carstensen - usually an accordionist, but here playing that jazz-band rarity, the pedal-steel guitar. Eick (who also plays vibes and guitar) has played with everybody from the pioneering Trygve Seim collective to Chick Corea, psychedelic group Motorpsycho and contemporary jazz-rock band Jaga Jazzist. His silky, unbrasslike sound is ideally suited to this undulating groove-landscape, and pianist Balke's apposite fills and asides help give the music a collective fluency.
26 Black Affair, Pleasure, Pressure, Point (V2) 4 stars Given his starring role in outré folk-hop troupe the Beta Band, nothing that Steve Mason does should ever prove surprising. Even by the defunct group's outlandish standards, though, Mason's latest solo guise is endearingly odd. Who else, after all, would dream of welding Tubeway Army to lubricious RB and house and pull it off?Paul Mardles 27 Anne-Sophie Mutter, Bach: Violin Concertos, Gubaidulina: In Tempus Praesens' (Deutsche Grammophon) 5 stars Anne-Sophie Mutter was a violin wunderkind soloing with the Berlin Philharmonic at the age of 13.