Marius Neset, Birds (Edition)

After the rave responses to his first album, Golden Xplosion, two years ago, Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset might have buckled under the weight of expectancy and the pressure of having so many accolades thrust upon him. He hasn't. In fact, his follow-up is likely to attract even more praise.

Birds is an astonishing statement, not just of Neset's prodigious talent on tenor and soprano saxophones but also of his fantastic reach and imagination as a composer. The title track manages to incorporate Norwegian folk, Steve Reich systems music, a cartoon soundtrack, Michael Brecker-esque volcanic saxophone expression and the folk-brass band carousing of France's l'Occidentale de Fanfare into the service of Neset's very own exuberant musicality – and that's just for starters. Written for a jazz quintet of sax, vibes, piano, bass and drums plus additional trumpets, trombone, tuba, French horn, accordion and flute, this is fabulous music that at times reflects with Grieg-like delicacy but also roars in a glorious co-mingling of unfettered improvisation and nimbly executed composition.

Rob Adams