JAZZ & BLUES

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The Independent Culture
David Murray, the prolific saxophonist, has always been a restless talent oblivious to stylistic boundaries. And his latest CD, Creole (Justin Time), certainly continues in that vein. Recorded in Gaudeloupe, it sees him mixing jazz with Caribbean mountain music, Cape Verde melodies and a host of other ethnic styles. He has his only UK show at the South Bank's Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow night.

The same night sees the subtle piano/vocals duo of Norma Winstone and John Taylor returning to the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street. For the rest of the week that venue celebrates the fifth anniversary of Babel Records with a series of shows. Highlights are likely to be the Tuesday and Thursday programmes, which feature the anarchic musician Billy Jenkins.

At Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street, the acid jazzers' beloved partnership of singer Flora Purim and percussionist Airto Moreira begin a third and final week, while more dance rhythms will be on display at the Blackheath Halls on Friday, when the American saxophonist Ray Gaskins (above) takes the stage.

But if it is the swinging, big-band style you are after, then try two recent releases from Rykodisc's MGM Soundtracks range. I Want to Live! sees Johnny Mandel's wonderful score for the 1958 film of the life of executed murderess Barbara Graham teamed up with the even more enjoyable companion album featuring Gerry Mulligan, Shelly Manne and Bud Shank. Johnny Cool presents the score written by one-time Sinatra collaborator Billy May for the 1963 film of that name. The Rat-Pack connection continues with two vocal performances by Sammy Davis Jr.

More engaging fun at the swinging end of jazz is to be had with the latest CD from big-voiced singer Michelle Wilson. Tryin' to Make a Little Love (Rounder, via Direct) sees her slowing things down a little in places - notably on the typically fine Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham song "Life Rolls On" - but her energetic style is well to the fore on more traditional material, such as "Each Day" and "Bring It Home to Me".

Roger Trapp

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