3.5 stars

There’s a frightful phenomenon that inhabits elevators and airports called smooth jazz, the perpetrators of which should have turned their hands to hanging wallpaper rather than making music. This is not say classy jazz can’t be made while cruising own a road devoid of speed humps or potholes. The difference between smooth jazz and what guitarist Tim Rollinson, bassist Steve Elphick and drummer Toby Hall collectively do here comes down to heart and intent.

Rather than setting out merely to suffocate silence, this melodically lilting and rhythmically liquid music still wants to touch and engage the listener, and Rollinson’s own songs are so good at doing this that they blend effortlessly with the astutely chosen standards. The opening Blue Shoes, for instance, rides on a swaying Latin groove as restrained as the merest breath of a summer breeze, and both the melody and Rollinson’s solo are so captivating that you want to hear it repeatedly to confirm it really is that good, while Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground is a soundscape that lives up to its striking title. The music’s inherent charm is amplified by glistening sound-quality and keen dynamics.