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Classical BACH CELLO SUITES: Richard Tunnicliffe (LINN Records CKD396) Richard Tunnicliffe here brings us absorbing readings of Bach's six Suites for unaccompanied cello, setting these domestic, personal works within the wider context of Bach's wider output.

As Tunnicliffe points out in his thoughtful insertnotes, these often experimental movements frequently remind us of other compositions, whether choral or orchestral, and his playing somehow intensifies these links.The sonorities of his two fine instruments (the sixth Suite is written for a five-string cello piccolo) display a whole range of colours to underline this common coinage, yet at the same time the close, atmospheric recording set down in St George's Church, Chesterton, Cambridge reminds us that no music could be more intimate than this --even to the extent of hearing the soloist's fingers negotiating the fingerboard.

Pitch is at the baroque A=415Hz, and the period-instrument strings have a wonderfully nasal,pungent carrying sound.A lovely double-CD set, but I do wish the cover's evocative seascape had been identified.

Christopher Morley Jazz The Face Of Mount Molehill Neil Cowley Trio This most adventurous of pianists has added string writing to his considerable skills both as composer and player. He has always ranged far and wide from bringing some of his classical technique into play as well as indulging his rock sensibilities in what is essentially a jazz piano trio.

Now he can add more expansive arrangements and instrumental colours to that already pretty vibrant palette.

Lament starts us off fairly gently, but by the time we are into track three, the strongly building rock groove of Fable, the toes are firmly tapping.

Meyer returns us to more pensive territory but even here the dramatic tension builds in pop fashion.

Cowley hasn't lost his knack for finding catchy, hummable melodies, and his band is so closely in tune with everything he does, that it all works like a well-oiled machine.

A machine of fun, of course. The Neil Cowley Trio with strings is at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham tomorrow night.

See Jazz Diary for more details.

Peter Bacon Rock Roman Reloaded Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday She's one of the fiercest and most fashion-forward rappers around, and Nicki Minaj aims to keep her crown with the follow-up to her debut platinum-selling album Pink Friday, which includes top 10 single Starships. Roman Reloaded starts out with the Trinidadian-born hip-hop star at her rapping best as she urges her alter-ego to "take your medication" on Roman Holiday before her lively collaborations with Cam'ron and Rick Ross (I Am Your Leader) and the title track with Lil Wayne.

Minaj lets Nas, Drake and Young Jeezy take centre stage on Champion, and Right By My Side featuring Chris Brown is a stand-out track. The second half of the album is more danceinspired, as heavy basslines dominate on Pound The Alarm, Whip It and Beautiful Sinner, which are unlikely to deter die-hard fans.

Shereen Low
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 12, 2012
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