A living antidote to the idea that jazz has to be difficult, the stylish guitarist and vocalist George Benson has won legions of fans for hits such as "Breezin". And the new GRP album, Standing Together, which is supported by an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday, will do nothing to change opinions.

A rather more muscular brand of fusion is provided by another guitarist, Mike Stern. As Warner's embarks on a reissue of his strong Atlantic back catalogue, he breezes in for a pair of shows at Camden's Jazz Cafe on Thursday and Friday.

With the Mingus Big Band on its second week at Ronnie Scott's, the venue's own label, Ronnie Scott's Jazz House, offers another chance to look back at some of those who have graced its famous stage in the past. Since all the artists hail from this side of the Atlantic, some bright spark has come up with the title Brit Jazz with tracks by such varied talents as John Dankworth, Holly Slater and the wonderful Peter King.

Another British great, Tubby Hayes, is enjoying something of a posthumous Indian Summer, thanks to the appearance of various reissues and new discoveries. Tubby Hayes Quartet Scandinavia (Storyville) sees the saxophonist accompanied by a local band, working his ebullient way through a mixture of his own material and tunes from the likes of Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis.

Meanwhile, female blues guitarists are still uncommon enough to merit special mention. Both Sue Foley and Debbie Davies have paid their dues over recent years and have now turned up on Shanachie, a US independent distributed by Direct, and produced tasteful, blues-inflected roots albums. Foley's Ten Days in November is perhaps the stronger because of her distinctive voice, but on the evidence of Round Every Corner, Davies can certainly lead a band through a variety of styles.

A more mainstream blues artist is Shemekia Copeland. On Turn the Heat Up (Alligator), she shows herself to be very much a blues belter of the old school. Fronting a heavyweight band, she looks set to give labelmate Koko Taylor and other Chicago stalwarts a run for their money.

Roger Trapp

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