Bahraini-British trumpeter and band leader Yazz Ahmed came into her own with this consequential 2017 effort (The Wire’s Jazz Album of the Year, among other accolades), introspective in its theme yet marvelously inquisitive and gregarious in practice. Tapping into her Arab roots and art-rock resume (which includes work with Radiohead), Ahmed adds to the vocabulary of new British jazz, following her caprices to some wondrous, even hallucinatory places. Mad Hatter and March Hare to her Alice are Lewis Wright on vibes and Shabaka Hutchings on bass clarinet, though Naadia Sherriff’s dauntless Rhodes steals the show on the exquisite “Organ Eternal”. The palpably feminine energy carries over to this year’s Polyhymnia, which builds on a commission for London’s Women of the World Festival — far larger in scale, with two dozen players on board, but frustratingly constrained in comparison.
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