Pop / Jazz: Jazz & blues

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The Independent Culture
Though the London Jazz festival is over, the flow of big-name US stars shows no sign of slowing. This weekend, while one educator - Ben Sidran - tonight (Sat) finishes his stint at the Pizza Express, Dean Street, another - Gil Scott-Heron - brings his brand of funk and poetry to Camden's Jazz Cafe for a week from tomorrow (Sun).

Taking Sidran's place at the Pizza Express is Larry Coryell, a guitarist who, though best known as a fusion pioneer, seems able to play in any style. And Wednesday and Thursday see Herbie Hancock (right) returning to the capital for the third time this year, to play at Leicester Square's new venue, the Sound Republic, with his quartet.

It is also a good week for home-grown talent. Tomorrow night (Sun) sees the versatile Gary Husband, a pianist who has tasted pop success with Level 42 and also bashes a mean drum, perform with his trio at the Pizza Express, while another accomplished Brit - the singer Claire Martin - is at Chelsea's 606 Club. And on Friday, Guy Barker, whose pure-toned trumpet has graced recent recordings by Van Morrison and Georgie Fame as well as his own recent effort. "What Love Is" (EmArcy), is at the Blackheath Halls.

On the blues side, notable recordings make up for a lack of live appearances, with a brace of albums by female artists worthy of attention. Though presented as something of an axe heroine, Deborah Coleman shows on Where Blue Begins (Blind Pig) that she has interesting songs to add to her tasty licks, while Rory Block's Confessions of a Blues Singer (Rounder) cements her reputation as an interpreter of the down-home style to rival the likes of John Hammond.