MUSIC: JAZZ & BLUES

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Indy Lifestyle Online
For a strand of jazz that has attracted more than its share of doubters, the "cool" school has been pretty well served by the years. Indeed, it could be argued that it is as influential now as at any time since it appeared in the wake of the frenzied style of be-bop in the 1950s. A strong case in its favour will certainly be made at the Barbican tonight. Continuing the jazz element to its Inventing America programme, the venue plays host to the trio headed by Paul Motian, former drummer with pianist Bill Evans, plus what can only be dubbed an all-star band comprising trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, saxophonist Lee Konitz, bass player Dave Holland and Bill Frisell - perhaps the only jazz guitarist who sounds like he would be at home in a country band. The latter ensemble have certainly put down a marker with their recent collaboration on the wonderfully atmospheric album Angel Song (ECM).

Tonight also sees Ruby Turner, long dubbed Britain's answer to Aretha Franklin, at the Blackheath Concert Halls. An R'n'B singer of rare power and soul, she has lately enjoyed some acclaim for her album, Guilty (Indigo Records) that - in parts, at least - does justice to her talents. She's also recently toured with the similarly timewarped Jools Holland. If she lets rip on the old Etta James show-stopper "I'd rather Go Blind", then it will be obvious why she became a critics' darling way back in the early 1980s.

Monday sees Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street welcome the legendarily explosive drummer Billy Cobham with a quintet that features Randy Brecker. Cobham is a veteran of the Miles Davis and John McLaughlin fusion bands, while trumpeter Brecker has performed with the likes of Horace Silver and Charlie Mingus as well as his saxophonist brother Michael. Fusion is enjoying something of a renaissance and Cobham and Brecker are probably about as good practitioners of it as you are likely to see.

On Tuesday, the inventive young vibes player Anthony Kerr, whose recent album Now Hear This (Ronnie Scott's Jazz House) is a remarkably varied and accomplished set, plays a free lunchtime show at Cabot Hall, Canary Wharf (0171-418 2060) in London's Docklands.

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