From the album Melodic Ornette Coleman to be released by the ACT label in February.

From the upcoming Star People Nation.

There is something very deep about the way Ralph Alessi sculpts his compositions and arranges his playing situations. Everything seems sealed in his own world. His approach sits alongside the way Kenny Wheeler used to create spaces not dissimilar to ‘Oxide,’ above, which is taken from Imaginary Friends (ECM), the US trumpeter’s new album with Ravi Coltrane, Andy Milne, Drew Gress and Mark Ferber to be released on 1 February. Alessi manages to sound utterly alone even in the company of these fine players. There is an exactness to the effect and when the tune unspools to reveal a solo from Milne that microscopic detail is there but gives way then to a plangent anthem shaped by trumpet and sax reprised from before and suddenly the individual becomes a collective endeavour once again. Have a listen.

Adventurously inclined drummer Matt Jacobson and saxophonist Sam Comerford touring as Insufficient Funs have a tour coming up.

Catch them in Derry on Tues 5 Feb with a lunchtime appearance in Magee, Ulster University and also that evening at Bennigans Bar; Wed 6 Feb in the Bello bar, Dublin; Thu 7 Feb at Billy Byrnes in Kilkenny; Fri 8 Feb  in the Black Gate Cultural Centre, Galway; and Sun 10 Feb at the Bobo Cafe restaurant of The Glucksman, Cork (for a 2pm gig).

Our favourite tracks right now. From Chris Potter, Rosie Turton, Snarky Puppy, The Comet is Coming, Julian Lage, Branford Marsalis, Joachim Kühn and Yaron Herman.

In the desert at an obscure monument this is as much performance art as a concert. A tour de force by two veteran saxophonists who each have a track record of pushing ever onwards to explore the extremes of their instruments, there is a stark Ayler-esque beauty here and plenty of soul searching. Gone are conceptions of conventional melody, rhythm, timbre. Instead there is a stillness in the face of the epic spaces of the desert and the mystery of James Magee and his art. I do not think that this is difficult music but nor is it easy music. It, however, rewards patience and a certain surrendering to the undertaking itself and for both McPhee and Butcher it becomes a kind of self-portrait given the level of exposure to the nakedness of their craft. That self-portrait is all about the act of daring and seeking. As epic a piece of avant free improv to have come along for a very long while.

Snarky Puppy are back soon... their twelfth album to date. Listen to the Lalo Schifrin-esque shimmer of ‘Xavi’ drawn from Immigrance which will be released in March.  

A two-piano summit tour unites two giants of UK free improvised music generations apart, with the coming together on the same stage of Keith Tippett, pictured, and Matthew Bourne.

Touring begins in mid-March and progresses through to late-May opening in Leeds, and moves on to Bristol, Cork, London, and Manchester.

For full details of venues and dates see the Sound UK site.

Now signed to Impulse The Comet Is Coming have a new record called Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery to be released in March, ‘Summon the Fire’ is the first track made available from it. As previously reported on marlbank the trio, reedist Shabaka Hutchings with Danalogue on keys and Betamax, drums, play the Black Box, Belfast on 2 March.

Quite funky in a way, taken from the upcoming album Songs of the Degrees by the Israeli pianist Yaron Herman back with his trio again (Sam Minaie is on bass and Ziv Ravitz is on drums) after what seems an inordinately long time. 

To be released by Universal in February, Herman in an evocative phrase talks of each track being a “self-addressed letter.” Certainly good to find Herman back in such fine form with such a strong lead-off track landing in a Mehldau vein to introduce us to his new sounds.