JAZZ & BLUES

Chick Corea's latest album arrives amid a hurricane of publicity proclaiming it a stunning return to form. But, though Origin Live at the Blue Note (Stretch, via Concord) displays more invention than we have come to expect from the pianist of late, he and a band that includes Avishai Cohen on bass and Steve Davis on trombone are still inclined to over-elaborate. Accordingly, the record, while energetic enough, is held back by that fussiness for which the leader has become so notorious. Nevertheless, diehards will be happy in the autumn, when the complete recordings - spread over no fewer than six discs - are released.

More urgent is the self-titled debut from 4-Sight (N2K Encoded Music), a leaderless quartet which has seen service with trumpeter Roy Hargrove. At once locked into "the tradition" and up to the minute, it gets off to a cracking start with pianist Peter Martin's "Parabola" and never really lets up. Together or separately, these guys - the others are sax-player Ron Blake, drummer Greg Hutchinson and bassist Rodney Whitaker - are going to make their presence felt in the years to come.

Whether they will display the same joie de vivre when they are in their seventies as Clark Terry is, of course, another matter. On Intimate Stories (Challenge, via Direct Distribution), the trumpeter and occasional vocalist teams up with fellow veterans Horace Parlan on piano and bassist Red Mitchell for an engaging romp through standards like "Blue Moon" and originals.

Another Red, sax player Holloway, is also in good form on In the Red (High Note, via Direct). Supported by pianist Norman Simmons and the drum'n'bass duo of Peter and Kenny Washington, he works his way through tunes linked with the likes of Dexter Gordon ("The Chase") and Herbie Hancock ("Watermelon Man") to great effect.

On the blues front, the underappreciated Louisiana singer/guitarist Larry Garner is back with another album. Standing Room Only (Ruf) is well up to scratch, with Garner's trademarks - humour, earthy realism and wonderful hooks - to the fore. Having failed to make it big through a dalliance with a major label after being launched by Britain's JSP, Garner seems destined to be restricted to the cognoscenti. Just so long as he continues to make records like this.

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