Jazz and Blues

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The Independent Culture
The Oris London Jazz Festival kicks off on Friday with shows by such varied artists as the salsa violinist Alfredo De La Fe of the Fania All Stars, British hard-boppers Art Themen and Don Weller, and the jazz fusion of guitarist Deirdre Cartwright.

Camden's Jazz Cafe should see plenty of noise tomorrow when inventive percussionist Snowboy, probably Britain's most successful Latin performer, turns on the Acid Jazz for the launch of his latest record with the Latin Section, Mambo Rage (Ubiquity).

Sony/Columbia continue their peerless tribute to the late, great Miles Davis with The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions. Covering that fertile period between the summer of 1969 and the spring of 1970, when Davis laid the ground rules for fusion in company with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul and Billy Cobham, the four CDs contain a wealth of music that inspired a generation, plus previously unreleased tracks. Davis's later electronic work is the inspiration behind Yo Miles!, a somewhat strange - though undeniably funky - record by world musicologist Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith (Shanachie). More easily appreciated is Endless Miles (N2K, via New Note), a charity tribute album recorded earlier this year, on what would have been Miles's 72nd birthday, by many of the people featured on the Columbia set.

Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson also gets the Columbia boxed-set treatment with the release of the wonderful Gospels, Spirituals & Hymns. Jackson made her name with a monumental series of sides for Apollo, now collected on Westside's three-CD release How I Got Over. Literally heavenly stuff.