JAZZ & BLUES

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The Independent Culture
Ever since he was plucked from obscurity many moons ago by Miles Davis, British bassist Dave Holland has been a man in demand. Mostly associated with the cool ECM school of the likes of Kenny Wheeler, he can nevertheless enliven a session by his mere presence and is an interesting band leader - as the week of performances at Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street starting on Monday will no doubt attest.

The old-fashioned virtues of style and polish will be well to the fore at the neighbouring Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street when tenor man Scott Hamilton and guitarist Howard Alden - two youngsters with their hearts in the swing style of an earlier generation - appear at the same time.

Friday sees the young and authoritative British-based tenor player Denys Baptiste play at the Tabernacle in Powis Square, London W11 in support of Be Where You Are (Dune), his debut as a leader. As befits somebody who has supported such artists as Incognito and Jazz Jamaica, this is an attractive amalgam of mostly upbeat styles that nevertheless casts more than the odd nod in the direction of mainstream modern jazz.

Back in ths studio, blues great BB King (above), who concludes a short UK tour with a performance at the Bournemouth International Centre tonight, has yet another "best of" set out. Fans are bound to feel that personal favourites have been left out, but - while it understandably concentrates on later poppier material -- His Definite Greatest Hits (a two-CD package released by PolyGram TV to coincide with the master's 50th anniversary in the business) is a formidable overview by anybody's standards.

Meanwhile, potential star in the making Corey Harris builds on his growing reputation as a rejuvenator of the acoustic blues style with the Alligator release Greens From the Garden. There is a strong New Orleans R'n'B flavour to this album, but also a lot of variety in an innovative take on the blues that would put a smile on the face of the master, Taj Mahal.

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