JAZZ & BLUES

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The Independent Culture
Diana Krall may be selling all the records, but the most talked about young jazz musician of the moment is almost certainly pianist Brad Mehldau. After a series of mesmerising trio albums, he has released a solo effort - Elegiac Cycle (Warners) - which brings his well known lyricism and unpredictability further to the fore. He will showcase material from that album on Thursday when he kicks off the Soho Jazz and Heritage Festival with the first of four appearances at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street.

Earlier in the week - on Tuesday and Wednesday - the club hosts the Yuri Honing Trio, a European outfit that gives hits from the likes of Abba and Blondie a convincing cutting-edge jazz treatment.

The agelessness of Cuban-style jazz will be demonstrated on Friday by the appearance at the South Bank's Royal Festival Hall of the 89-year- old singer/guitarist Compay Segundo. He currently has his own engaging record Calle Salud out on Warners.

Another undersung Caribbean talent, Francine Luce appears at the Purcell Room on the same evening in support of her debut CD Bo-Kay La Vi (Ogun).

Also on Friday, the saxophonist Denys Baptiste is at the Jazz Cafe, Camden. His first album Be Where You Are (Dune Records) was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize.

Finally, there is a significant rival to pianist/singer Krall in Cassandra Wilson, (above) the singer who appears at the Royal Festival Hall on Monday. Her current Blue Note album Travelling Miles does not stray far from the mainstream in its tribute to the late trumpeter. But in concert Wilson has the opportunity to crash and blur the boundaries.

Roger Trapp

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