Jazz and Blues

After years performing with James Brown and the likes of George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker certainly knows how to have a good time. And with a string of acclaimed and successful solo records to his name, the veteran alto saxophonis t - who performs a one-off gig at Blackheath Concert Halls tomorrow - has demonstrated that he is not merely an accomplished sideman. Moreover, there is a lot more jazz amid his irresistible funk than the "2 per cent" he claims. Taj Mahal is clearly in a highly productive phase. Still basking in the attention devoted to his recent "Senior Blues" album, this great dabbler in "blues and other related stuff" - as one of his album titles puts it - has just released "Taj Mahal and th e Hula Blues" on the German label Tradition & Moderne. Unsurprisingly, it is a celebration of the Hawaiian music that fascinated him while living in the islands. Though some of the material is firmly in that style, Mahal has the vision and style to bring off the experiment of putting tunes such as the traditional "Betty `n' Dupree" and his own "Mailbox Blues" through a South Seas filter. Holly Slater is a lot younger than Parker or Mahal, but her music is much more squarely in the jazz tradition. A tenor saxophonist, she was last year's young jazz musician of the year and has just produced her debut disc, "The Mood Was There", on the Ron nie Scott's Jazz House label. Recorded live at the club in February and May of this year, it sees her taking on compositions by such greats as Thelonious Monk, Cedar Walton and Hank Mobley as well as standards and her own material. With a tone that belie s her years, she and the two different rhythm section generate plenty of swing.

Finally, Lullaby for the Working Class are a band that are neither jazz nor blues artists - though their beguiling, impossible to pigeonhole music owes something to both idioms.. With a new album, "I Never Even Asked For A Light" recently out on Rykodisc , they make a swift return visit to London with a gig on Tuesday at The Water Rats, Grays Inn Road on Tuesday.

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