The Miles Davis standard “So What” has been a modal jazz touchstone for 55 years, providing the harmonic canvas for myriad improvisations and reinterpretations.

Album: Massive Attack, Heligoland (Virgin)

Where do you go when the sound you pioneered has been absorbed by the mainstream as a default setting for car ads?

Album: Jaga Jazzist, One-Armed Bandit (Ninja Tune)

The Norwegian nonet's first album for five years is proggier than ever.

The Cinematic Orchestra, The Roundhouse, London

The Cinematic Orchestra defy classification. Is it jazz? Electronica? Hip-hop or trip-hop? Or movie soundtrack music? What is obvious, though, is that the shape-shifting outfit formed by John Swinscoe in the late 1990s does not lack musical conviction. Which other band could perform an hour-long instrumental accompaniment to an 80-year-old silent Soviet movie and be confident of a capacity crowd?

Massive Attack, Brixton Academy, London

You don't really dance to Massive Attack, so much as sway to their dark tones, acid house keyboards and soulful vocals. At Brixton Academy though, the once untouchable masters of trip-hop struggled to elicit even that muted reaction.

Album: Twisted Tongue, Twisted Tongue, (Acid Jazz)

Feed five decades of black American music into a supercomputer, press "random", and you've got Twisted Tongue.

Jonny Dollar: Musician and producer whose work with Massive Attack pioneered the genre of trip hop

With its moody, ominous sound and pioneering mix of beats, samples and strings, Blue Lines, the debut album by the Bristol collective Massive Attack, defined a new musical genre, trip hop. Released in April 1991, the landmark album contained three hit singles – "Unfinished Sympathy", "Safe From Harm" and "Hymn Of The Big Wheel" – spent the next 18 months in the British charts and became part of the soundtrack of the early Nineties alongside grunge and Britpop.

Hip-hop offers a new message

The aggressive image hides an intelligent aspect, says Ian Burrell

Album: Nightmares On Wax, Thought So...(Warp)

During his relocation from Leeds to his new home and studio in Ibiza, Nightmares On Wax leader/producer opted to travel in a convoy of camper-vans carrying his equipment, sound engineer, band and singers, the caravan making stops to take in the sights and evoke moods and landscapes through impromptu recordings.

Massive Attack, Royal Festival Hall, London

Wrapped up in blue: pathos, paranoia and psychobabble

Paperback: The Flâneur, by Edmund White

This elegant saunter around the streets of Paris touches on spots both familiar – St Germain is "a beatnik brat grown up to be an elegant and rather brainless matron" – and specialised: "Some of my happiest moments have been spent making love to a stranger beside dark, swiftly moving water below aglowing city." Whether he takes us into the entrancing past, with Theophile Gautier eating green, jellified marijuana at Le Club des Hachichins, or themundane present, typified by the new Bastille opera house like "a cow palace in Fort Worth", White is a wholly engaging guide to the city in which he spent 17 years of his life.

DJ Krush, Koko, London

A beat odyssey way out East

Album: Tony Remy and Bluey

First Protocol – Incognito Guitars (Dome)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity, Jazz Caf, London<field name="starRating">fourstar</field>

Mostly used for colour in rock and pop, the vibraphone has been a bona fide lead instrument in jazz for decades, most notably with Lionel Hampton, who presented a six-year-old Roy Ayers with a pair of mallets at a concert in the 1940s.

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