JAZZ AND BLUES

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Indy Lifestyle Online
A few weeks ago, Carmen Lundy achieved the remarkable feat of wowing the critics while performing over the hustle and bustle that is Sir Terence Conran's startlingly successful Mezzo restaurant. On Friday, the latest candidate for the title of jazz diva returns to the city, in the more conducive surroundings of the South Bank's Queen Elizabeth Hall. As anybody who has heard her recent JVC albums knows, Lundy (above) is a highly effective vocalist with great range and phrasing and a knack for surrounding herself with tasteful musicians.

Taste and range are also the watchwords for Duke Robillard, a guitarist who is reckoned to be able to ape just about any blues style. A founding member of the long-running and ever-changing jump jazz combo Roomful of Blues, Robillard has, since leaving the New England band, forged a highly successful solo career and even done a stint in Texas's Fabulous Thunderbirds. But throughout he has burned a candle for the late, great T-Bone Walker, and the influence is there on much of the retrospective Duke Robillard Plays Blues just released by Rounder Records. And though he is more than a mere revivalist, the fluid string bending and classy arrangements featuring plenty of old-fashioned horns are also well to the fore on Dangerous Place, the latest release on his current label, Pointblank.

But in a year that has seen a few sought-after boxed sets, it is going to be hard to beat Rhino's effort on the 1956-61 Atlantic recordings of Charles Mingus. Of course, albums such as Pithecanthropus Erectus and Oh Yeah are pretty close to "must-have" records on their own. But in keeping with Atlantic's acute sense of heritage, this is more than just a collection of seminal recordings. It is a lavishly-produced package of six CDs (the last being an interview with Mingus by Atlantic co-founder Nesuhi Ertegun) and a highly informative booklet that more than lives up to the title Passions of a Man.

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