Jazz and Blues

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Forty years after making his first record, the hugely-talented and - even in his 70s - ever-so-hip Mose Allison seems as popular as ever, with a large tranche of the back catalogue featuring his own slyly humorous songwriting alongside takes on blues and jazz standards and some terrific keyboards work still widely available. Expect plenty of fun and a few wry smiles when he completes his residency at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street W1, tonight (Sat) and tomorrow (Sun).

One of the many who long ago fell under the thrall of the Mississippi- born jazz and bluesman is Georgie Fame. Although he has flirted with pop music, Fame is these days keener on his jazz and blues roots. On Tuesday and Wednesday he appears at the Jazz Cafe, Camden NW1, with his Blue Flames.

No doubt encouraged by the warm response granted to Latin jazz last year, the legendary Fania All Stars - featuring such greats as Ray Barretto and Celia Cruz - will be at the Brixton Academy, SW2 tomorrow night.

While the blues side remains relatively quiet in terms of both performances and new recordings, some re-released material deserves a much wider hearing than it is likely to get. First, Al Copley is a sort of Stateside - albeit these days European-based - version of Jools Holland. Equipped with phenomenal technique, he does not let his obvious love for the blues - in particular, the jumping variety - get overwhelmed by reverence. Throughout a pile of recordings with Roomful of Blues and The Fabulous Thunderbirds and on his own solo outings, his piano playing is imbued with great wit and enjoyment. On A Good Understanding (on Rounder's Bullseye Blues), he is joined in Amsterdam by ace guitarist Duke Robillard and Thunderbirds frontman and harp player Kim Wilson.

There is also a Thunderbirds connection to another well-deserved re-issue, harmonica player and vocalist James Harman's Extra Napkins (Cannonball Records). A product of the somewhat wild California blues scene that also gave rise to The Blasters, Harman is steeped in the idiom, with an ear not just for great music but for accomplished musicians, including pianist Gene Taylor and guitar players Kid Ramos and Hollywood Fats.

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