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Some musicians make fun of corny standards.
Led by the ultimate rock'n'roll reprobate, the gruff-voiced bassist Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, Motörhead have been playing faster, heavier and louder than most of their heavy metal competitors for over 35 years now. Known to all the group's fans by his suitably umlaut-accented nickname, the guitarist "Würzel" – né Michael Burston – was a semi-professional musician whose take-no-prisoners approach to the instrument lived up to Kilmister's high expectations when he auditioned to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Brian Robertson, once of Thin Lizzy, in November 1983.
This version of Joe Zawinul's ship of state featured Peter Erskine and Jaco Pastorius as the Rhythm Section Which Gives You More, but no ancilliary percussionist.
Impossible to dislike, bare bones piano and double bass duo by the unrelated Greens.
Husky vocalist Jay Malinowski is rapidly losing his voice onstage. It must be every musician's dream to have a crowd of hundreds singing their lyrics back to them, and judging from the grins on the faces of the Canadian urban reggae trio Bedouin Soundclash, it certainly is theirs. But tonight, the band are probably thankful their sweaty sold-out audience aren't just repeating what they hear, they're taking the strain for Malinowski.
At venues as beautiful as Somerset House, there is an unwritten rule: any band that sets foot onstage should give a performance to match the magnificence of their surroundings. Having conquered the charts and critics' hearts worldwide with their indie-pop debut, Conditions, Melbourne quartet The Temper Trap attract an excited crowd to their sold-out gig in the cobbled open-air square.
Yet another super-confident UK piano trio.
Their follow-up to the splendid 100 Days, 100 Nights finds Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings deftly employing the Sixties soul grammar which made them such a key element of Amy Winehouse's Back To Black.
Goatee-stroking, beatnik free-jazz from the rejigged Empirical, with only altoist Nathaniel Stacey, drummer Shaney Forbes and bassist Tom Farmer remaining from the band's lauded debut two years ago.
In the past, the Wyoming-born singer-songwriter Jeb Loy Nichols has mixed country with soul and reggae, but this foray into drifting, downtempo jazz is a wonderful and surprising departure, the 13-song sequence of Strange Faith & Practice deepening as it goes.
While you can argue about fidelity to the big idea – 11 tunes conceived as tributes to musicians from the past – and, indeed, the point of that idea in the first place, bassist John Patitucci's trio partners of saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Brian Blade play so well that the whole thing works anyway.
Heard live, the music of star bassist Christian McBride’s quintet might swing, but this album (a tribute to the late double bassist Ray Brown, not that you’d guess) is strictly jazz for middle managers: the themes are corny or cute; the feel is too polite to be properly funky and the frontline of soprano sax and vibes sounds ingratiating rather than challenging. The main problem here is that no one appears to have anything to say, or any particular reason to say it. Impeccably played, of course.
Alto-saxophonist Figes – who studied with Elton Dean and Keith Tippett – has an inclination to hard, rhythmical swing, and a contrasting gift for composing memorable, sensitive tunes.
Warren Zevon was the renegade West Coaster. While his mid-Seventies Los Angeles peers were taking it easy and running on empty, Zevon's albums swilled with troubling tales of mercenaries, psychopaths and bent lawyers.
Recorded around the same time (1969) as the recently reissued Brotherhood Of Breath albums, but never previously released, Up To Earth features similar combinations of top UK jazzers (bassist Danny Thompson and sax men John Surman and Evan Parker) with the remnants of pianist Chris McGregor’s expatriate South African band (trumpeter Mongezi Feza, saxist Dudu Pukwana and drummer Louis Moholo).
While many bands name-drop Nick Drake, the Beach Boys and the Velvets (fine and proper, but getting predictable), my interest in this Texas trio was assured when bassist Steve Terebecki announced that White Denim "would really like to turn into XTC".