Konrad Wiszniewski/ Euan Stevenson
New FocusWhirlwind ****
Coming out of the Glasgow scene, the Focus quartet began as a one-off celebration of Stan Getz’s orchestral album of the same name. But such was the reaction at last year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival that saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski and pianist Euan Stevenson were commissioned to write some music of their own in a similar format. They drafted in the Glasgow String Quartet and harpist Alina Bzhezhinska, along with drummer Alyn Cosker and bassist Michael Janisch. The results are more bittersweet than the Getz album, but the unfolding narrative has a cinematic sense of drama, and the synthesis between jazz quartet and string quartet is artfully achieved. Wiszniewski’s clear lines and Stevenson’s intelligent arrangements make the string quartet much more than a mere background.