Singing Dvorak: Anne Sofie von Otter
Sunday 06 August 1995
Ben Harper: Fight For Your Mind (Virgin, CD/LP/tape). Young Black Man With Acoustic Guitar Shock! That is the dis- reputable sub-text to the coining of terms such as "gangsta folk" to describe this charismatic Californian singer and slide-guitarist's arresting update of blues and gospel traditions. This powerful and resonant second album is more consistent in mood than Harper's patchily imposing debut Welcome to the Cruel World, and is all the better for it. The sweetness of his voice provides an ideal counterpoint to the intensity of his guitar- playing and the sombre - occasionally bordering on po-faced - tone of his lyrics. Whether in plaintive ("Another Lonely Day"), amatory ("Please Me Like You Want To") or righteous-stomp mode ("Ground On Down"), Harper is a compelling and seductive performer. Ben Thompson
Dizzy Reece: Blues in Trinity (Blue Note Connoisseur, CD/LP). It may be hard to credit but this is genuine Blue Note hard-bop from Britain, recorded at Decca Studios in 1958 and featuring the stunning Jamaican- born trumpeteer Reece alongside a 23-year-old Tubby Hayes on tenor, with the New York heavy mob of Art Taylor on drums and Donald Byrd on bass and Londoner Terry Shannon on piano. It's far more than a curio, too, with Hayes playing like a world-beater and the overall feel suggesting the soundtrack to an unmade British film noir. The excellent Connoisseur series also includes new re-releases by Andrew Hill, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Lou Donaldson and Walter Davis Jr. PJ
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant