Jazz: JAZZ AND BLUES

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Nobody can question the contribution that Herbie Hancock (above) and Wayne Shorter have - together and separately - made to the development of jazz over the years. As mainstays of the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid-1960s, they helped recast the tradition, while subsequent projects have seen them pushing into new fields, notably fusion. Though some might have been particularly surprised that Hancock, a pianist with such composing classics as "Watermelon Man" and "Maiden Voyage" to his name, should have become a darling of the hip-hop crowd, he and saxophonist Shorter, who himself hit the charts with the jazz-rock pioneers Weather Report, have kept in touch with both each other and their earlier influences while continuing to innovate. At the Barbican on Monday (13 Oct), they appear unaccompanied in support of their album 1+1, released on Verve earlier this year. With an often lyrical beauty, the record is clear evidence of the empathy between the two that began with Miles all those years ago. However, those with an ear for a little more rhythm would do well to turn up in time to see support act, the pianist Bheki Mseleku, who is winning growing acclaim for a string of records (also on Verve) on which he attempts to marry the sounds of his native South Africa with those from the United States.

Lennie Tristano has certainly had a bad press over the years. Though well-respected, most notably for "bringing on" the saxophonists Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz, people have tended to find it hard to warm to this epitome of "cool". But the selection of CDs by the blind pianist performing solo and with various small groups reissued on Jazz Records (via Direct Distribution) reveals much more excitement and heat than on many of the doodlings that pass for jazz today.

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