Pop/Jazz: Jazz & Blues

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The Independent Culture
Any end-of-year fuzziness afflicting jazz fans should be well and truly shaken off by a week which - with a host of talents on London's stages - looks like being one of the hottest of the year.

The young Turk in town is the highly talented pianist Marcus Roberts (above), making his first British appearance as a leader with a trio at the South Bank's Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow. Though this is a young group, Roberts is a man with a strong sense of his chosen idiom's history.

Fellow pianist Cedar Walton has many more grey hairs, but is still making wonderful records of his own and with young and old performers alike. Indeed, the man who contributed so much to the Blue Note sound of the likes of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and Hank Mobley is one of jazz's most highly-rated accompanists. For the next two weeks he is at Ronnie Scott's, in Frith Street, London, leading a quartet which includes the rising young saxophonist Javon Jackson.

Back at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Monday, trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler reassembles the band for his cracking recent ECM record Angel Song, with John Abercrombie replacing Bill Frisell, for the first night of a short UK tour. With Lee Konitz contributing his familiar sparse sound to Wheeler's restrained approach, the project bears comparison with Miles Davis's Birth of Cool, but has a beauty all of its own.

A rather more exuberant style is likely to be evident at Camden's Jazz Cafe from Tuesday until Friday, when it plays host to the steaming saxophonist, Stanley Turrentine, whose bluesy style helped create the extremely popular soul-jazz.

On the recording front, the latest release by the British label Naim featuring the pianist Chris Anderson deserves special attention. Teamed with the highly individual singer Sabina Sciubba and the peerless rhythm section of David Williams and Billy Higgins, Anderson gives the standards collected on You Don't Know What Love Is a whole new lease of life.

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