Arts and Entertainment

If this world-fusion outfit had opened their long-awaited new album with the ghastly third-rate funk-rock track that closes it, your reviewer would have instantly pressed the eject button and you wouldn’t be reading this.

Album review: Various artists, Red Hot + Fela (Knitting Factory)

Purists will object to the very idea of covering the late Fela Kuti’s songs, but the originals can outstay their welcome. Happily, it turns out that their angular riffs and edgy lyrics have real staying power, as was demonstrated on Red, Hot + Riot a decade ago and now again here with these often radical reinterpretations of the Nigerian legend’s best work.

Album: Norman Watt-Roy, Faith & Grace (Cadiz)

Anyone who's seen Watt-Roy play bass with the Blockheads, before or after Ian Dury, will know what a star he is.

Live music review: James Taylor Quartet, Ronnie Scott's, London

For a figure that has railed against the pleasantries of polite jazz, James Taylor looks suspiciously comfy in this all-seated venue where punters are still polishing off their meals as the Hammond organ king's foursome ease into the night's first tight jazz-soul groove. By the end of the first set, though, many of them have been dragged on their feet for a spirited take on Teddy Pendergrass's 'Love TKO'.

Album review: Nino Machaidze, Arias & Scenes (Sony Classical)

It's not hard to understand why Nino Machaidze has become something of an overnight sensation since her 2008 breakthrough in Roméo et Juliette at Salzburg. In this selection, the Georgian coloratura soprano combines phrasing of nuanced subtlety with top notes of stunning power, ranging from the lilting, seductive “Quando men vo” from La Bohème to the impassioned gusto of her dramatic Violetta in an extended scene from La Traviata climaxing with a joyous “Sempre libera”.

Sacred music: Lauren Mayberry, Martin Doherty and Iain Cook of
the widely lauded Glasgow band Chvrches

Harvest time for fans of intoxicating indie: The best acts at London's Field Day festival

This weekend's Field Day festival in east London is packed with storming new acts.

BAE Systems under fire over Saudi deals

Chairman, Dick Olver, endured a torrid time at his final AGM as protesters against its deals with Saudi Arabia were ejected amid stormy scenes

Album: Various artists, Liberation Music (BGP)

Louis Armstrong singing spiritual-jazz anthem "The Creator Has a Masterplan" (and sounding great) is one of the more bizarre experiences on this neat compendium of black consciousness from the vaults of Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label.

Video: American teenager speaks 23 languages

Whilst most people struggle to learn one new language, a 16-year-old from New York has managed to master 23 different tongues.

Rokia Traoré, Beautiful Africa (Nonesuch)

Album review: Rokia Traoré, Beautiful Africa (Nonesuch)

The daughter of a Malian diplomat, Rokia Traoré is perhaps the most naturally cross-cultural of her country's abundant musical offspring, effortlessly blending styles and sounds as easily as she switches between languages.

Album: Portico Quartet, Live/Remix (Real World)

Whether Portico Quartet ever were a jazz act is debatable, but they certainly don't sound like one now.

Album: John Grant, Pale Green Ghosts (Bella Union)

It's fair to say that most who heard the former Czars frontman's solo debut Queen of Denmark would have happily lapped up more of the same: channelling struggles with drugs, alcohol and sexuality into beautiful, baroque soft-rock, it cropped up on many an end-of-year list in 2010.

Mark Cavendish celebrates his third stage victory in a row

Cycling: Mark Cavendish all but certain of taking Tour of Qatar title

British rider wins third stage in a row to extend overall lead

Album review: Pere Ubu, Lady from Shanghai (Fire)

Pere's persistence pays off with some gripping grooves

Simon English: Will Tucker show new boy Carney the ropes?

Outlook Spare a thought for Paul Tucker, who had every reason to think he was a shoo-in to replace Sir Merv at the helm of the Bank of England, an institution he understands as well as anyone.

Album: Leona Lewis, Glassheart (Syco)

With pesky priapic cherubs One Direction having nabbed Lewis's "most popular X Factor act" crown, this long-delayed third album sets out to make the Hackney diva "current" again.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?