JAZZ & BLUES

Back in 1992, a band called the Red Devils burst out of Los Angeles with a record produced by Def American boss Rick Rubin that had the likes of Mick Jagger hailing the return of the spirit of Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Billy Boy Arnold and other uncompromising blues greats. Now, after a long break, the star of that record is back with an album on the Hightone label simply called 13 Featuring Lester Butler. Though the album features the same kind of no-nonsense approach, vocalist and harpist Butler is on even better form, with a driving band helping him power his way through such classics as "Smoke Stack Lightning" and "Baby Please Don't Go" as well as his own compositions in the same vein.

Indeed, Bay Area-based Hightone seems to be in a rich seam at the moment, with both contemporary releases and, through the Testament and HMG imprints, important reissues from the likes of Jessie Mae Hemphill and Otis Spann. Frankie Lee's The Ladies and the Babies, originally put out more than a decade ago by Hightone, itself is a minor soul-blues classic that deserves a much wider audience.

Much more restrained is Hello Friend, an album produced by stellar entertainer Bill Cosby as a tribute to his late son, Ennis. You might wonder whether the world needs another version of the Jazz Messengers' favourite, "Moanin'": but the band assembled for this session - including master pianist Cedar Walton and inventive horn players Bobby Watson and Lester Bowie - give it and other well-known numbers, such as Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder" and Horace Silver's "Senor Blues", more oomph than is usually the case with such projects.

Meanwhile, Manu Dibango, the African saxophonist who was a pioneer in fusing the continent's traditional sounds with jazz influences, is at Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street W1 from Monday (9 Feb) until next Saturday, with Israeli-born pianist Jonathan Gee in support.

On Tuesday (10 Feb), another saxophonist, Tommy Smith, begins a run at the Pizza Express jazz club, Dean Street, W1. Still only in his early thirties, the Scottish-raised performer has an impressive track record, and with a band featuring Julian Joseph, has great capacity to surprise.

Roger Trapp

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Programmer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Bridgend based software de...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Printer

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence