Andrea Keller




You can hear pianist Andrea Keller scraping the irrelevances from her art like unwanted skin. Always a fine composer, she has honed and polished these pieces with a crystal clarity about each sound-world and the direction the improvising should take. Musings is a robust framework for waves of rhythmic energy from Keller’s piano, Chis Hale’s bass guitar and James McLean’s drums. St Misha has James Macaulay’s trombone quietly crying like the last drinker at a 4am bar, while Julien Wilson’s clarinet is an otherworldly blend of air and wood and ghosts, all set against meditational piano and double bass (Sam Anning).

This trio (minus Macaulay) realises the even more arresting Grateful, Hopeful, Joyful, with Wilson, now on tenor, leaving any constraints far behind, and instead enveloping you in a tide of unfiltered emotion that is among the year’s great recorded solos (and two further tracks highlight his singular mastery). Inside Out and the Sweet Cacophony are features for guitarist Steve Magnusson, the former lyrical, the latter a wild ride through hurtling mysteries. The assorted trios, quartets and quintets also include Leigh Fisher’s drums and Flora Carbo’s piquant alto.