Jazz & Blues

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The Independent Culture
Claire Martin is a singer with catholic taste. Her many fans have become used to her performing songs by artists as varied as Stevie Wonder and Phoebe Snow alongside jazz standards, but few could have expected her latest CD to feature Noel Gallagher. Take My Heart sees the Oasis main-man helping out the British performer with more than a hint of Dusty Springfield to her rich-toned voice on a re-arrangement of the Beatles' "Help". For the real deal, see her with a 15-piece band for the album launch at London's Bloomsbury Theatre on Tuesday (16 Feb).

Jonathan Gee, who played keyboards on a couple of Martin's earlier albums, heads a trio at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street. The same venue hosts former Azimuth stalwarts Norma Winstone and John Taylor for four nights from Thursday. They have also performed alongside the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Mike Westbrook and John Surman.

Meanwhile, the long-running partnership between Flora Purim and Airto Moreira continues at Ronnie Scott's, in Frith Street, London for this, the second of three weeks.

Friday sees Benny Green, the funky pianist with a string of Blue Note albums to his name, follow up his Tuesday show at the Bull's Head, Barnes with a trio performance at the Pizza Express Jazz Club.

Finally, two new CD collections. Lost American Bluesmen (Midnight Creeper, via Shade Tree Music) is a real find. This album features veteran Chicago sidemen such as the subtle and sophisticated guitarist Jimmie Lee Robinson and the harmonica player Frank Scott performing acoustically in a variety of combinations. It is a powerful reminder of the enduring appeal of the blues. Every Road I Take (Shanachie, via Direct) calls itself "the best of acoustic blues" and features interesting performances from such rivals as Alvin Youngblood Hart, Guy Davis and Chris Smither.

Roger Trapp