Abdullah Ibrahim

Quite a coup for Gearbox records, the London jazz vinyl label, who have signed South African piano great Abdullah Ibrahim to the label in one of their most significant moves to date. His first new album in four years The Balance features his septet Ekaya in a studio project recorded at London studio RAK last year. Expanding on Ekaya UK-based musicians including bassist Alec Dankworth and South African expat Adam Glasser also participate. Gearbox are advertising a 28 June release.

HERE IS THE ABSORBING LEAD-OFF TRACK OF THE LONG GAME what I guess will be one of the most significant new UK jazz releases of the year, a trio affair from pianist Liam Noble here in the company of former Polar Bear players bassist Tom Herbert and drummer Seb Rochford.

Noble is one of those rare pianists who manages to dip in and out of both avant and mainstream traditions while injecting his own stamp on affairs.

Now signed to what for many is the UK’s top indie jazz label Edition the album is released in June. 

German jazz label ACT have signed the Swiss-born, New York-based, Grammy award-winning harmonica player Grégoire Maret.

His first album for the label Harp vs. Harp, which is a duo recording with the harp virtuoso Edmar Castañeda and includes special guests Béla Fleck and Andrea Tierra, will be released in mid-June.

It’s been a while... but now the release this month of Claire Martin’s Believin’ It marks a big moment for UK mainstream vocals jazz as there are few better in this area than the singer.

For this new record she has recruited a brand new band to back her, a Swedish trio with arrangements by pianist Martin Sjöstedt.

Her material taps right into her comfort zone spreading across popular song and jazz standards from ‘Broken Wings’ by Mr Mister and ‘I’m Not in Love’ by 10cc to a tribute to Lena Horne with a version of ‘Come Runnin’.

Martin dates coming up include Stables Wavendon (1 May), Ronnie Scotts London (15-16 May) and Whitehaven Cumbria (17 May) with the full list to be found on her website

Album released in June — hear the Hackney Colliery Band at Ronnie Scott’s on 31 May.

There is a rare chance coming up to catch original Pat Metheny Group bass guitarist Mark Egan on tour. Egan will be appearing in a US-Irish line-up alongside Impossible Gentleman drummer Adam Nussbaum and pianist Cian Boylan in a quartet led by trumpeter Linley Hamilton. Dates, including a Derry Jazz Festival appearance, can be found here.

Appearing at the OddBall Festival in Oxford on 8 June are the Sun Ra Arkestra in their final show on a UK tour and first appearance in Oxford. Hosted by Oxford University Psychedelic Society, the new festival is described as a “cosmic-themed celebration in the spirit of psychedelia,” taking place at the Isis Farmhouse in Oxford. Also on the bill are Tiger Mendoza, Dutty Moonshine (DJ), Rhymeskeemz, Flights of Helios, Jali Fily Cissokho, Fire Healer Drones over Keynham Knobblehead Jeramesa, and many more. Festival website.

From the By Fire EP by Kneebody to be released on Edition in May.

From Partisans’ Nit de Nit to be released by Whirlwind in May.

From Empirical’s double EP Distraction Tactics to be released on 3 May, launching the project at Ronnie Scott’s on 6 May.