Album: Various Artisits, BBC Jazz Awards 2008 (Specific jazz)

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The Independent Culture

Credibility-damaging decisions (Stacey Kent and Anita Wardell getting gonged ahead of Norma Winstone, a nominee this year; Curtis Stigers?) and a need to create a buzz has made this annual BBC shebang look like PR spin holds more sway than musical excellence.

But this year's album of nominees is pretty good, although who will buy it beats me. There's a cracking opening run from the Blessing to Basquiat Strings via Humphrey Lyttelton and John Dankworth; two tracks each by my hot tips Empirical and Guy Barker; Afro-vibes from Corey Mwamba and a lovely Tom Cawley ballad.

Pick of the Album: Guy Barker's sly, Milesian 'Wolfie'