JAZZ & BLUES

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The Independent Culture
Even at a time when female singers are all the rage, the rise of Gwyneth Herbert (below) has been little short of astonishing. Less than two years ago, she and guitarist Will Rutter released First Songs on an independent label. The CD's assured light jazz almost immediately led to a major record deal that produced the acclaimed CD Bittersweet and Blue. It featured versions of songs from such diverse artists as Tom Waits and Janis Ian, and then last autumn she was opening the London Jazz Festival. Not that Herbert has rested on her laurels. She is now touring again and appears at Chelsea's 606 Club for a Valentine's Night special on Monday and at Canary Wharf's Cabot Hall on Wednesday.

DJ Gilles Peterson appears tonight at the Barbican Centre, London as part of a two-night celebration of "Jazz Britannia", with such established players as Stan Tracey, Bobby Wellins and Norma Winstone, as well as newer techno performers such as Yeast.

Tomorrow, saxophonist Courtney Pine, who played a major part in paving the way for the likes of Soweto Kinch and others by fusing jazz with reggae and other sounds heard on Britain's streets, is the host. Among those joining him are Kinch and Jazz Jamaica.

One of the most creative figures on the current British jazz scene is saxophonist Tim Garland. He brings his Lighthouse Trio to the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street on Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the same venue welcomes John Hoare, a trumpeter whose CD Less is More is recently out on Candid, while on Thursday it is the blues guitar of Preston Reed.

A solid week for the 606 Club, Chelsea begins tonight with the John Serry Band featuring Dave O'Higgins on sax, and continues with former Ronnie Scott pianist John Critchinson, alto player Peter King and drummer Jeremy Stacey on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively.

Meanwhile, tomorrow at Smollensky's on the Strand, former Average White Band mainman Hamish Stuart takes the stage.

Tonight, saxophonist Gilad Atzmon is at the Turner Sims Building, Southampton.

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