all sounds contemporary

"ASC records was set up by composer Steve Plews in 1996. The aims of the label have been to promote and preserve British music. The label deals in Modern Jazz and Contemporary Classical music and features world-famous artists. These artists include Mike Westbrook, Keith Tippett, John McCabeetc alongside new names like pianist Johnathan Gee, sax player Ed Jones. Frequently reviewed in the national press, the label has achieved great critical acclaim the Mike Westbrook album Bar Utopia was Jazz CD of the Week in the Guardian." —

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James Dickerson Trio Images in Time (asc cd80)

James Dickenson, piano; Dave Lynane, double bass; Dave Hassell, drums & percussion.

John Law Trio/Quartet monk n jump (asc cd81)

John Law, piano; Alec Dankworth, double bass; Dave Wickins, drums & percussion; Julian Siegel, tenor saxophone & bass clarinet.

"John Law is a hidden treasure of the UK jazz scene. He's rarely heard outside his home patch in the West Country, but Alfred Brendel once went so far as to commend this "highly gifted maverick".

Here, Law's trio is joined by saxophonist Julian Siegel on a repertoire of Thelonious Monk pieces and standards, and a nod to another "gifted maverick"—Ahmad Jamal. Law plays Straight No Chaser as a stream of long, coolly swinging lines and stabbed accents, and throws provocative countermelodies and punchy chords at a full-on Siegel in the later stages of the Jamal vehicle Poinciana.

"This is the kind of retro-jazz that gives the genre a good name." — John Fordham, Guardian

Steve Plews Secret Spaces (asc cd3)

Steve Plews, piano; Jeff Clyne, bass; Trevor Tomkins, drums.

"A primary influence on Mr. Plews would seem to be the early Bill Evans trio from 1961 but he is expanding the format with his own idiosyncratic methods of writing and performing." — Derek Ansell, Jazz Journal

Howard Riley Inner Minor (asc cd16)

Howard Riley - solo piano. Recorded in 1996.

"... on this album he utilises not only standard changes (from the likes of 'Darn That Dream', 'Tenderly' and 'Star Eyes') but also a vast panoply of pianistic devices from all corners of the jazz tradition to achieve a uniquely personal and hugely enjoyable synthesis. Highlights include 'Inner Minor' and 'Deflection', both employing material from earlier works; but a good place to start might be with 'Things', Riley's extraordinary deconstruction of 'All The Things You Are'." — Chris Parker, The Times

Daryl Runswick Set of Five (asc cs cd37)

Five compositions for two pianos by Daryl Runswick, recorded live at Dartington Great Hall. Daryl Runswick and Keith Tippett - pianos.

Various [see below] Fast Forward (asc cs cd11)

Camerata Ensemble perform Kevin Malone, Fast Forward; Robin Walker, I Thirst; Geoffrey Poole, String Quartet No. 2. Coull Quartet perform David Ellis, String Quartet No. 2. The Lindsays perform John Casken, String Quartet No. 2. Nossek Quartet perform Anthony Gilbert, String Quartet No. 3.

"This is a most welcome release which provides for a fine survey of some recent string quartets, some of which are quite substantial works likely to appeal to all those who enjoy the warm lyricism deployed by the various composers featured in this collection. The performances by the Lindsays (Casken), the Coull Quartet (Ellis), the Camerata Ensemble (Malone, Walker) and the Nossek Quartet (Gilbert), mostly BBC broadcasts of live performances are all generally very fine and I urge anyone to get this CD which I unreservedly recommend." — Hubert Culot,

Various [see below] Horizons (asc cs cd51)

New Music for Oboe and Harp by Philip Grange, Jinny Shaw, Howard Skempton, Lynne Plowman, and Judith Bingham.

Okeanos: Jinny Shaw, oboe; Lucy Wakeford, harp. 

"The House Of Asterion ... is haunting and original music ... Howard Skempton's miniatures ... are bemusingly brief and attractive. Best of all are two works by Lynne Plowman ... which are imaginative and at times really lovely." — Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News.

Various [see below] Manchester Accents (asc cs cd45)

Northern Chamber Orchestra performs Terence Greaves, Rondino; Anthony Gilbert, Another Dream Carousel; Walter Carroll/Eric Fogg, Seascape: A Children's Suite; John McCabe, Two Dances from Mary, "Queen of Scots"; Thomas Pitfield, Theme and Variations; John Manduell, Diversions; James Langley, Four Movements.

"... there is an urbane eclectic variety in the selection of pieces on this disc ... the orchestrally clad Walter Carroll miniatures ... the complex music of Manduell's 'Diversions' and the dark modality of John McCabe's 'Dances' ... a Rondino movement ... whose delightfully capricious music is played with the most delicate lilt by the young Jonathan Scott ... Pitfield's richly evocative harmonies ... I imagine that, with the material that may yet be available and unexplored further compilations may appear. If they are of this standard then I eagerly anticipate." — Colin Scott-Sutherland