MUSIC: JAZZ & BLUES

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Indy Lifestyle Online
With a certain symmetry, fast-rising singer-pianist Diana Krall tonight brings her week at Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street to a close as two of her biggest fans, the British vocal stylists Claire Martin and Ian Shaw, conclude their series of shows devoted to the in-vogue Bacharach at the Battersea Arts Centre tonight and tomorrow.

Even more local talent is on display at the South Bank Centre's Purcell Room tomorrow, when exciting piano discovery Nikki Yeoh and her trio, Infinitum, team up with the world-music-flavoured trumpeter Byron Wallen's Sound Advice for the first in the London Moves collection of performances designed to showcase some of the capital's rising composers.

Little Willie Littlefield is a long way off being up and coming. Having made his finest records on the US West Coast, the blues and boogie singer- pianist has for some time been based in the Netherlands. He celebrates a half-century in the biz with The Red One, a cracking set on Oldie Blues that shows he has lost none of his verve.

Meanwhile, recently established British re-issue specialists, Westside, does everybody a favour by putting out an extensive collection by another veteran, Earl King, the New Orleans guitarist-singer/writer/producer/A&R man best known for the famously out-of-tune classic "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights", as part of its homage to the Mississippi label Ace. Another beneficiary of this project is the grossly under-exposed Texas guitar-slinger Frankie Lee Sims, who is given a good airing on 4th and Beale and Further South, the second volume of material from the Ace vaults.

Finally, anybody who thinks that only men can play the brooding juke- joint blues made familiar in recent years by the Fat Possum recordings of the likes of RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, has clearly not heard Jessie Mae Hemphill. She Wolf, though recorded in 1979 and 1980 and briefly available in France, has never been released in Britain or the States. Now, thanks to Hightone's decision to make available many of the recordings associated with blues scholar David Evans, country blues fans have a wonderful glimpse of a powerful and mesmerising performer who is like a female version of John Lee Hooker and Howlin' Wolf combined.

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