Murmuring to a tech equivalent of a cicada behind him, saxophonist Rob Cope paints all over the minimal background as a Gods of Apollo scene setter on ‘Sputnik’ the first of what is planned to be a three-part trilogy inspired by space.

Spoken word from the NASA archives spool out of the speakers at the beginning of ‘Human Spaceflight’ with pianist Elliot Galvin suitably modernistic sprawlingly effective behind the speech. There is a lot going on throughout the album and there is a certain danger that the concept will overpower the playing itself but luckily this does not happen mainly because the production and compositional techniques seem to be so very well thought through. Cope has a very human Iain Ballamy-like sound and his bittersweet soliloquies make this quite a personal statement and with Galvin, superb particularly on ‘Magnificent Desolation’, guitarist Rob Luft and drummer Jon Ormston around him there is a strong group unity and direction. Cope and chums launch the album tonight at the Vortex. Get yourself down there if you can.

There is a lot of really firing latin-jazz around at the moment including this nimble new album from former Mongo Santamaria pianist Bill O’Connell and the Afro Caribbean Ensemble who make their debut release together with Wind Off the Hudson (issued by the Savant label) on 26 July. Quite a line-up of a band including Andrea Brachfeld, Craig Handy, Ralph Bowen, Gary Smulyan, Alex Sipiagin, Conrad Herwig, Lincoln Goines, Robby Ameen and Roman Diaz. Tracks are: Wind Off the Hudson, Gospel 6, Jerry’s Blues, I Don’t Have the Answer, Oye Como Va, Perdido, Got Cha, Transition, C Jam Blues and Discombobulation.