Of the three jazz festivals coming up in Ireland soon, the Bray Jazz festival while not the biggest festival in the world, certainly has the best line-up with John Scofield, Fred Hersch and Anja Lechner among the artists heading to Bray, a seaside town in county Wicklow.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year the festival runs from 3-5 May. Full details at https://www.brayjazz.com

A sharp, short shock of an album, plenty of spare almost punkish energy from the sax-bass-drums trio to it, not to forget an array of little surprises coming along the way, with some artful electronics and the tinkle of glockenspiel dubbing in.

Far from a conventional jazz group, yet the overall concept factors in the space and virtuosity of contemporary jazz and even detours for a spot of ingenious konnakol on ‘Jazz Masala’. 

Their second album — the band reminds me a little of the kind of group Pete Wareham finds himself in post-Polar Bear, or Roller trio — follows on from the award-winning Another Raindrop released two years ago. 

Kuba Więcek is a subtle soloist and on a track like ‘Me and My Present Reason’ shows plenty of variety and his consummate ease as a leader.

Polish star pianist Marcin Masecki crops up as a guest on the puckish ‘Jazz Robots,’ another reason, along with the Django Bates-like whistling, to check out this most intriguing and lively of albums.

Hear the trio at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, London on 5 May. 

A beautifully arranged optimistic and highly energetic sound from Jonny Mansfield, introducing Elftet due for a release in late-June. Chris Potter, Gareth Lockrane and Kit Downes are among the guests.

Jacob Collier to be honoured by Jazz FM, the multi-instrumentalist to collect PRS For Music Gold Award at this year’s Jazz FM Awards on 30 April... Jules Buckley, Peter Edwards, and Angélique Kidjo among BBC Proms jazz and world music programming... indie label Ubuntu continue their signing push with New York All Stars, Tom Cawley and Laurence Hobgood among recent signings... Linda May Han Oh returns with Biophilia label release Aventurine...  International Jazz Day on 30 April will culminate in an All-Star Global Concert at the Melbourne Arts Centre’s Hamer Hall.  the concert will be webcast via YouTube and Facebook... Barbican announces two-night stay in May 2020 for Wynton Marsalis as he paints a symphonic portrait of New York City with The Jungle, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle... Singing sensation Sachal Vasandani joins the faculty at this year’s Sligo Jazz Project...


In what is one of their highest profile signings to date London jazz indie label Whirlwind have signed singer Natacha Atlas and will release her album Strange Days in the autumn.   

Atlas over the years has worked with Transglobal Underground, Peter Gabriel, Nitin Sawhney, Nigel Kennedy, Indigo Girls, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Ibrahim Maalouf. Strange Days Whirlwind describe as “A darkly dystopian Arabic-infused jazz fantasy.”

It is a departure for Whirlwind whose releases tend to gravitate towards acoustic hard bop, jazz-rock, Cool School and mainstream flavours and a sign of the growing reach of the label which is run by bassist Michael Janisch beyond its core constituency.

Atlas on her Facebook page provides more details, crediting violinist, composer, arranger Samy Bishai as her producer, co-composer and arranger on the album and indicating that her personnel on it includes pianist Alcyona Mick, Andy Hamill, Asaf Sirkis, Hayden Powell, Robinson Khoury, Laurie Lowe and Idris Rahman among others.

Singer Claudia Campagnol releases her debut album I’m Strong later this month, a gutsy soulful affair which features an A-list of guests including musicians Jimmy Haslip, Vinnie Colaiuta and Gerard Presencer. The Dane, one of Denmark’s rising stars, plays the Danish Club Night at this year’s Jazzahead! in Bremen on Saturday 27 April. 

Blake, Oh, Potter

A ferociously compelling trio affair from the Kenny Barron drummer, here recorded live at The Jazz Gallery in New York City featuring Chris Potter on tenor saxophone and Linda Oh on bass.

Kino trio

The Babel label has been relatively dormant for a while now but bounces back with a new signing, the Kino trio, led by the Bill Evans influenced pianist Bruno Heinen, above centre, himself no stranger to the label. Heinen is with bassist Michele Tacchi and drummer Riccardo Chiaberta, the trio was founded four years ago playing original compositions. They launch Il Cielo Sopra Berlino [Wings of Desire in Italian, the title inspired by a Wim Wenders film] at the Vortex in London on 28 April a few days after release. Tickets.