Album: Manu Katche, Third Round (ECM)

Contemporary jazz that anyone could like, characterised by strong yet open themes, unshowy brilliance and an overall mood of soulfulness and sensitivity. For his third album, French/African drummer Katché has assembled an unusual but effective cast of musicians, with Tore Brunborg on sax, Jason Rebello on piano and Pino Palladino on bass. Guitarist Jacob Young plays on three of the 11 tracks and there's a cameo by Kami Lyle, whose strangulated voice grows on you. Definitely one of the albums of the year.

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