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The Oxford-based pianist’s latest set veers from angular abstractions to Dylan Bates’ violin lilting chirpily through the minor cadences of “Advice”.

The title track has a syncopated bounce, a third stream vibe and bass clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings at his most trenchant; “Forgiven Only Words Once” is brief, bleak and sticks in the mind; and “Assemble/Melancholy” starts as romp, ends as a dirge and includes a minute’s silence.

Hawkins marshals his sextet with strong original structures and nifty piano, while the ensemble work is top-notch.

Alexander Hawkins Ensemble

Step Wide, Step Deep

(Babel)

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