Wynton Marsalis's own libretto is wise, witty and so rhythmically rich that the three vocalists - veteran scat-singer John Hendricks, the gospel- trained Miles Griffith, and the jazz diva of the moment, Cassandra Wilson - have more than enough to get their teeth into. The music from the 14- piece Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra moves gradually from blues to swing, with the composer blowing his own trumpet in a series of virtuoso barks, whinnies and sighs like the great Louis Armstrong himself. The performance is sold out, but a few tickets will be available on the night. (Barbican, EC2, 0171 638 8891, Tues).Reuse content
If the idea of a three-hour oratorio about the history of slavery written by one of the most self-consciously serious of jazz artists sounds a little hard-going, rest assured that the music of Blood in the Fields is triumphantly entertaining. As a recording of the 1994 premiere in New York shows, there's enough knock 'em dead instrumental and vocal features to ensure that the evening will be a huge success, and it's likely that the applause will add at least another half hour to the running time.