JAZZ & BLUES

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The Independent Culture
Carmen Lundy is a stylish jazz diva for the Nineties, as shown by the brace of JVC discs on which she is joined by such luminaries as pianist Cedar Walton, saxophonist Ernie Watts and trumpeter Randy Brecker. Reminiscent of Anita Baker, she should be a hit at the Jazz Cafe, Camden during the three-night stint that begins on Wednesday.

And South African singer Sibongile Khumalo has a week at Ronnie Scott's from Monday. As her Sony debut, Live at the Market Theatre shows, there are many facets to her brand of African jazz.

Lundy's JVC labelmate and sometime sideman Ernie Watts has an album out this week. Classic Moods sees the tenor player supported by a rhythm section featuring pianist Mulgrew Miller on his own versions of such tunes as "Lush Life" and "On Green Dolphin Street".

More rugged are two records from West Coast blues label Fedora Records (distributed via Direct). On Rompin' and Stompin', Robert "Bilbo" Walker is a downhome singer-guitarist with a strong enthusiasm for the songs of Howlin' Wolf and the style of Muddy Waters. Even more impressive is Hosea Leavy, who recorded the legendary Cummins Prison Farm in the late Sixties. His You Gotta Move is a vibrant collection.

Memphis stalwart Big Lucky Carter makes his full-length album debut at the age of 78. On Lucky 13 (Blueside) he belies his years with memorable "story-songs" tackling such issues as Aids and families destroyed by drug abuse. True blues from a true original.

Finally, Blueside's soul-oriented colleagues on Westside have unearthed some gems from Lou Rawls. Shades of Blue shows what he can do with such songs as Aretha Franklin's "Think" and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man".

Roger Trapp

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