JAZZ: JAZZ & BLUES

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Like prophets, British jazz performers are not always appreciated in their home land. But a good number who can definitely hold their own in the company of touring Americans are in action this week.

The impressive pianist Jason Rebello, who appears at the Pizza Express, Dean Street in the capital from Wednesday until the end of the week, helps to kick off the 13th annual Soho Jazz Festival, while at Ronnie Scott's, the veteran saxphonist Peter King accompanies singer Deborah Brown from Monday.

An added attraction at these gigs is a set by the young trumpeter Gerard Presencer, whose Platypus album on Linn has generated enthusiastic reviews, while another veteran saxophonist - Bobby Wellins - is at Chelsea's 606 Club tonight.

On Friday, Claire Martin - who has sung on Wellins's recordings and has gained accolades on both sides of the Atlantic for a string of highly consistent albums on the Linn label - brings her sophisticated sensuality to the newly refurbished Blackheath Concert Halls.

Elsewhere, the highly popular pianist-singer Tania Maria, with her band Viva Brazil, appears at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London's South Bank tomorrow, while the soul-jazz continues at Camden's Jazz Cafe on Friday, with the first of two gigs by the original funky drummer, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, veteran of recordings with artists as varied as Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown and King Curtis.

For more of the same, try dipping into the latest batch of CDs celebrating half a century of Atlantic Records. Gems include discs by Roland Kirk, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Cuban band leader Mongo Santamaria and novelty funkster Eddie Harris.

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