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All In

All In would be classified as an understatement. Led by composer Ben Cottrell, jazz maestros Beats & Pieces consist of 14 members, all varied, unique and tightly knit. Each studied in Manchester, each developed as an individual musician, but all conjoined to produce a debut album that won Best UK Newcomer at the 2013 Jazz FM Awards, and Ensemble of the Year at the 2014 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Now they return home with a buoyant, rhythmic second album.

The album conglomerates eclectic influences that range from Duke Ellington to Michael Jackson, and even Björk. Beats & Pieces compile six original compositions, and an atmospheric seventh in the form of David Bowie’s 1980s track, ‘Let’s Dance’. But in a genre that has simply aged from time immemorial, the band illustrate that contemporary, avant-garde jazz can be relayed to a wider audience without losing bravura or sophistication.

‘Pop’ is one of the standout arrangements, guided by a backbeat and horn ensemble that steer you beyond reason – with joy, of course. ‘Rocky’ is another, a miscellany of brass instruments thrashing into each other after a tumultuous yet thrilling flight. These are two of the tracks that the group recorded within four days, which might capture the probability of experiencing similar high-spirited streams of energy at their live performances. Absolutely worth it, you’d imagine.

Beats & Pieces launch All In at Soup Kitchen on Tuesday 7 July.

by Now Then Manchester