JAZZ & BLUES

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Indy Lifestyle Online
If few have crossed the divide between pop and more "serious" jazz and R'n'B more convincingly than Georgie Fame, it is even more true that few have stayed at the top of their game for as long as the man who enjoyed such Sixties hits as "Yeh Yeh" and "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde". A month shy of his 55th birthday and a year shy of four decades in the business, the associate of the likes of Van Morrison, Alan Price and Boz Scaggs appears at Blackheath Concert Halls tonight with his Blue Flames.

Tomorrow, it is the turn of another native, the virtuoso guitarist Martin Taylor, who performs at the Wigmore Hall with his Spirit of Django line-up. As the new Linn Records album Gypsy makes clear, there is rather more to this former collaborator with Stephane Grappelli, Yehudi Menuhin and even Peggy Lee than the well-known Renault Clio ads would suggest.

The same night sees Dee Dee Bridgewater, whose recent Verve album Dear Ella pays tribute to the great singer in the way that 1995's Love and Peace did for pianist Horace Silver, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Meanwhile, Gary Crosby and his colleagues in the ska-meets-modern-jazz outfit, Jazz Jamaica, attempt to build on the popularity of Caribbean stars Monty Alexander and Ernest Ranglin with an album, Double Barrel (Hannibal), that is as eclectic as the combined CVs of its participants. They appear at Camden's Jazz Cafe on Friday.

The sounds of the same region are also well to the fore on Obsesin, the new Sony album from the exciting Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sanchez. With Branford and Delfeayo Marsalis heavily involved in the production, this is an enticing amalgam of Latin rhythms and sensibilities and a streetwise modern-jazz approach.

Like Sanchez, the Marsalises' more famous brother, Wynton Marsalis, has gone back to the sounds of his childhood with The Midnight Blues. Like all great instrumentalists, he makes playing his horn sound effortless, but the man who has been criticised for his apparent concentration on technique ahead of feel exudes such melancholy on tracks like "The Party's Over" and "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" that there can have been hardly any discs better titled.

Roger Trapp

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