Between Heaven and Earth is the new album by hotly-tipped jazz guitarist Alex Scheuerer, a perfect entry point for both jazz novices or those well-versed in the arts. His intricate finger-work is matched by a rock-solid rhythm section who aren’t afraid to fire off the occasional funky shots, a keyboardist who commands his notes to almost drip into your ears and a French singer, Najwa Ezzaher, who comes into her own in an utterly sublime cover of Edith Piaf’s standard, La Vie en Rose.
Elsewhere, a cover of Diamonds by Rihanna is a pleasant enough attempt to drag in those usually adverse to jazz but it’s the instrumental work which really soars, given an extra level of gravity by the minimal rehearsal apparently employed by Scheuerer’s band before recording. Though desperate to steer away from cliches, it’s difficult not to use the phrase “smoky barroom” in order to describe the album’s sound, indeed the hands of master technician Andrew Tulloch are all over this, his work with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Norah Jones having similarly shamelessly retro tones. To dig even further back, fans of Labi Siffre’s work in the early 70’s will find much to savour here.