POP/JAZZ: JAZZ & BLUES

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The Independent Culture
Art Farmer has long been one of jazz's classiest performers. Though solidly within the hard-bop tradition, there is a lovely lyricism to his trumpet and flugelhorn playing. Tonight and tomorrow, and then again from Wednesday, he continues a run that sees him performing with Stan Tracey at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street for much of the month.

Tonight, the Jazz Cafe, Camden hosts more salsa when Bronx keyboards man Wayne Gorbea brings his 10-piece swinging band to town on the back of his Cogele El Gusto album.

On Friday, the same venue plays host to pianist Willie Tee, best known for Seventies funk hits with his band the Gaturs.

There are yet more funky Caribbean-style rhythms around because Monty Alexander, the Jamaican-born pianist, performs his highly enjoyable melodic rhythms for the second of two weeks at Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street.

Meanwhile, more mainstream fare is on offer from Pat Crumley, one of Ronnie's favourite saxophonists, who is at the 606 Club, Chelsea on Friday.

On the recorded front, ECM releases on Monday a trio of albums that are special even by its standards. Voice in the Night sees the mercurial tenor player Charles Lloyd abandoning his Scandinavian approach for an American sound in the company of John Abercrombie, Dave Holland and Billy Higgins.

The albums by Peter Erskine and co-headliners Paul Bley, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian are starker, but loaded with mesmerising stuff. Both stand comparsion with the best of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett.

It is a bit of a surprise to see a retrospective of John Coltrane (above) stretching over only a single CD. Trane's Blues (Blue Note) includes material from albums led by Sonny Clark, Johnny Griffin and Paul Chambers as well as Coltrane's own sessions. Even on some of the more esoteric Impulse! releases, the saxophonist's blues influence is well to the fore - but it is especially evident on a selection from a less celebrated period of his career.

Roger Trapp

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