JAZZ & BLUES

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The Independent Culture
Jazz piano is in pretty good shape at the moment, with many stalwarts continuing to produce interesting material, and a welter of young pretenders who are both aware of the tradition and prepared to flout convention. Of the latter group, none is more impressive than Danilo Perez, the Panamanian who leads a trio at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, London for four nights from Wednesday. Audiences should be prepared for an incendiary approach to the keyboard that throws convention - and pigeon-holing - to the winds.

Equally hard to pin down is Joe Zawinul, the former Miles Davis keyboard player and co-founder of Weather Report, who begins a week at Ronnie Scott's on Monday.

Also tomorrow, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Taj Mahal's most likely heir apparent, continues his tour with a date at Ronnie Scott's before moving on to Southampton and Rochester.

Still on the blues side, two old campaigners - John Lee Hooker and BB King - have highly enjoyable new records in the racks. Hooker's The Best of Friends (Pointblank) is essentially a round-up of various collaborations with the likes of Ry Cooder, Van Morrison and Bonnie Raitt which featured on his highly successful records of recent years.

For Blues on the Bayou (MCA), King has abandoned the duets and come up with a far more satisfying straight blues collection.

Finally, Man of My Word (Rounder) is a fitting tribute to the fine New Orleans blues and soul singer Johnny Adams, who died recently. With songs by such great writers as William Bell, Bobby Charles and Dan Penn, it is a wonderfully stylish effort which belies the circumstances in which it was made.

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