TRIANGLEHEAD: MATHS ****
THIS band have made a powerful impact as one of the most adventurous bands on the Scottish jazz scene. Saxophonist Martin Kershaw, pianist Paul Harrison and drummer Stuart Ritchie are all well versed in a range of jazz styles, but as a trio they focus on the more experimental side of their work, rooted in fiery free improvisation. They find plenty of variation within that approach across the 12 studio tracks on the disc, and conclude with a version of the title track recorded live at Henry's Jazz Cellar late in 2004.
CLIAR: GRINN GRINN ****
THIS leading band has three of the best voices in Gaelic song in Arthur Cormack, Maggie MacDonald and Mary Ann Kennedy, and their close-harmony singing is under-pinned by crisp instrumental arrangements. They've recently swapped the fiddle that was part of their regular line-up for Hector Henderson's whistles and pipes, but cover all bases here by including former member Allan Henderson as a guest alongside guitarist Ross Martin and Ingrid Henderson's clarsach and keyboards.
MOZART: 3 VIOLIN CONCERTOS ****
BEST to start a the year with Mozart, 2006 being the 250th anniversary of his birth. What is there new to say? Andrew Manze has the answer with this affectionate and authoritative grouping of the three 1775 violin concertos, K216, K218 and K219. He's joined by his own ensemble, the English Concert, in a set of performances that caress the poeticism of the music. Above all, there's a sense of conviviality and fun. Mozart, I'm sure, would have approved.