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The last decade has seen Anat Fort emerge as a distinctive new voice on jazz piano. Born in Israel, she lived for many years in New York and her influences include Keith Jarrett and Paul Bley (with whom she briefly studied), together with Middle Eastern folk-song and classical chamber music, all subsumed in an attractive personal style that is discreetly romantic. Birdwatching is her trio’s third ECM album, and the second to feature a guest clarinettist: here it’s Italian maestro Gianluigi Trovesi, whose glinting timbres help the music to glow. Passages of turbulence (‘Not the Perfect Storm’, ‘Jumpin’ In’) alternate with quietly ecstatic lyricism (‘Song of the Phoenix’, ‘Murmuration’), while gentle solo piano both opens the album, with the inviting ‘First Rays’, and closes it, with the repose of ‘Sun’. Lovely stuff!

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