The Jazz on 3 team have been like kids in a sweet shop this week, such was the selection of treats that came our way from last year's Saalfelden Festival in Austria. It was, frankly, impossible to choose just two or even three sets to play on the show, so we've gone for a pick 'n' mix approach, with a selection of local Austrian delicacies as well as some gobstopping international acts.
First up, a group that combines both – US drummer Jim Black with a trio that includes a young pianist from nearby Salzburg, Elias Stemeseder. It's a striking performance from him, distinctively leading the line despite being the junior of the three. Then it's time for Ingebrigt Håker Flaten's Chicago Sextet, recently upgraded from quintet with the addition of hot new vibes player Jason Adasiewicz. And what an addition – his dramatic shimmering is all over the opening of the piece we're playing, and the group has a really driving coherence, for all the free playing within it.
Next, something from the jar in the back corner – what we believe is the debut of the theremin on Jazz on 3, which nestles alongside accordion in saxophonist Max Nagl's finely blended octet. And after Jessica Pavone takes us down some unexpected paths in the company of her Army of Strangers, trumpeter Lorenz Raab leads his band on a comic, lurching night-time adventure.
There's nothing light-hearted about 'Black Death', and that's the thrashy piece that follows, by The Dead Kenny Gs (they even wear curly wigs onstage). There must be something in the Seattle water, because Cuong Vu 4-Tet – also from that city – then give us a dark and other-worldly version of Coltrane's 'Giant Steps'.
We still had some pocket money left over and blew it all on a couple of classic pieces from US trio The Bad Plus featuring guest saxophonist Joshua Redman, to finish the programme. Redman's liquid improv gives the backline something different to bounce off in 'Big Eater', before 'Silence Is The Question' slowly reveals a tangy, sherbert finish.