Big Air - Big Air (5 stars)

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Big Air - Big Air

JAZZ

An inspired debut from this Transatlantic aggregation, although one that has been a while in the making. Big Air features London-based trumpeter Chris Batchelor and saxophonist Steve Buckley with Americans Myra Melford on piano (and harmonium) and Jim Black on drums, plus tuba player Oran Marshall. They came together initially for a tour back in 2001, so it has been a long wait (with only occasional live performances) for this disc.

The compositions are all by either Batchelor or Buckley, but their realisation is very much a collaborative affair. There is a free-wheeling, free jazz feel to much of the music, but also a great deal of disciplined interaction and a very definite sense of purpose and direction. There are no passengers here – all five players make telling contributions to what is already shaping up to be one of the most engaging, exuberant and inventive albums of the year.

(The Babel Label)

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