Nikki Iles is not well known in the United States, but those who check her out can expect to be delighted. She plays a very gentle, lyrical sort of jazz in the Bill Evans tradition. You could say that this style has been played to death by pianists trying to follow in Evans' footsteps. That's why it's particularly impressive that Iles brings it so vividly alive. The performances are fresh and personal, genuinely moving without ever sounding trite or maudlin. That thing, whatever it is, that makes you love "Bill Evans Live at the Village Vanguard" - no matter how many times you've heard it - is here, and its as ephemeral and magical as it was in 1961. Having Rufus Reid on bass doesn't hurt, either.
In some ways the style of jazz doesn't matter. Whether an artist is playing a structured, melodic piece or banging on the piano strings with a wrench, in the end the music is great if it conveys real feeling (not the musical cliches we use as shorthand for familiar emotions, but the emotion itself). Nikki Iles definitely does it.