The-Quartet (3 stars)


Illuminated (Helium Records)


When you hear an awful lot of jazz CDs that sound broadly similar in terms of instrumental sonority and idioms, it is always refreshing to be hit by something that comes out of leftfield when you slip a new disc into the player. The-Quartet qualify in that respect – Jack Hues’ guitar on the opening ‘Magonia Heights’ immediately signals that whatever is coming up, it’s not going to be a straight, hard bop outing.

That holds good for the whole disc. Hues and pianist Sam Bailey are the core, and neither has a jazz background, coming from film music and pop respectively. The six compositions cross-reference classical, pop and world music as well as jazz, producing a hybrid that leans more on ensemble sound and creation of moods than conventional jazz virtuosity.

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