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24 November 2009


Alina Ibragimova: Bach; Sonatas & Partitas (Hyperion)
Sheer wonderment at how a woman in her early 20's can play Bach like this is the only critical response. Beyond belief, beyond time.

John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse!)
A date from 1963, half a dozen sings from the tenor player and the husky baritone, and pure gorgeous for every second of its too-short duration.

Kurt Elling: Dedicated To You (Concord)
The greatest living singer takes on Coltrane and Hartman in this act of homage, part of the American Songbook series, with Ernie Watts brave enough to play at being Coltrane. Elling is a star, and a truly magnificent performer.

Bruce Springsteen: Live in Dublin (Columbia)
With his Sessions Band, and what a blast from 2006. The horn playing, in particular, is stupendous, referencing every American style from New Orleans onwards. Wild.


Carmel Somers: Eat Good Things Every Day (Atrium)
No question that this is the best cookery book of the year. Polemical, passionate, and beautifully photographed by John Carey, and the food eats beautifully.

Wing & Scott: The Bread Builders (Chelsea Green)
Daniel Wing and Alan Scott's beautiful book is subtitled; Hearth Loaves & Masonry Ovens. Boy does this make you want to have your own simple, bread-baking oven in the backyard.