When it comes to spotting potential musical voices of the future, for my money you can't beat BBC Introducing; a few years ago, it introduced me to the lyrical inventiveness of saxophonist and composer Trish Clowes, now enjoying a blossoming career as the current Radio 3 New Generation Artist; the same stage played host to another saxophonist, Rachel Musson, also making occasional waves.
This year, BBC Introducing at the Manchester Jazz Festival introduced the astonishingly melodic and rhythmically inventive jazz of guitarist Moss Freed, in a group with singer and violinist, Alice Zawadzki. The set has now, alas, passed from the realm of iPlayer, having been broadcast on Radio 3, but you can get an idea of what you missed by watching a live performance of 'The Bubble' below.
Deft, effortless melodic writing allied to a fleet-footed rhythmic drive makes this a wonderfully effervescent piece, handled in confident fashion by an ensemble working with an instinctive collective unity. Freed's improvisation is skilful, thoughtful, never prone to hyperbole but concise without losing forward momentum. Zawadzki weaves a silken vocal path, her voice adding a sparkling counterpoint atop the group's almost balletic ducking and diving.
Freed's sensitive ear for warm harmonic colours is in evidence also in 'Freud and Jung Ride the Tunnel of Love' (watch here), whilst the minimalist in me was utterly hooked by the shifting ostinati in the violin at the start of 'Lose Ourselves,' showing that even jazz can be beguiled by process music (listen here).
The violin occupies an uneasy place in jazz for many - or for those who don't like Stephane Grappelli and L Shankar - and this week, the instrument lost one of its great jazz exponents, John Blake Jnr. But Zawadzki shows that here, in Freed's group, it is naturally at home.
Listen to more on Freed's Soundcloud page here; prepare to be enchanted, beguiled and utterly enthralled by some consummate musicianship and highly inventive playing. Keep an ear out for more from them in the future.