Jamil Sheriff Octet - Backchat (3 stars)

(Jazz Services)

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Jamil Sheriff Octet - Backchat

JAZZ

This disc marks the launch of the new Recording Support Scheme begun last year by the UK’s jazz umbrella organisation, Jazz Services, and gets the scheme off to an auspicious start. Pianist Jamil Sheriff hails from Bolton, and leads a fine ensemble that has been playing together on a fairly regular basis since its formation in 2002. That familiarity is reflected in the tightly-knit but flowing music on this disc.
Sheriff’s writing and arranging for the available instrumentation of alto and tenor saxophones, flugelhorn, trombone, guitar, piano, bass and drums is thoughtful and imaginative, and never overrides melodic development in pursuit of harmonic complication for its own sake. The writing is backed up with creative soloing in an accessible post-bop style from players who may not yet be familiar to Scottish audiences, but are worth investigating.

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