Album: Manu Katche, Third Round (ECM)

Contemporary jazz that anyone could like, characterised by strong yet open themes, unshowy brilliance and an overall mood of soulfulness and sensitivity. For his third album, French/African drummer Katché has assembled an unusual but effective cast of musicians, with Tore Brunborg on sax, Jason Rebello on piano and Pino Palladino on bass. Guitarist Jacob Young plays on three of the 11 tracks and there's a cameo by Kami Lyle, whose strangulated voice grows on you. Definitely one of the albums of the year.

Crusaders' Witt outsmarts Hull with the boot

Castleford 18 Hull 16

Ed Thigpen: Jazz drummer celebrated for his work with the Oscar Peterson trio

One of the most tasteful of jazz drummers, Ed Thigpen was a master of every aspect of music. He rejected the idea of the flashy, gum-chewing soloist who hogged the spotlight and drove the bobby-soxers mad in the Swing Era, nor did he ever try to lead the way in any of the bands he played in. Instead, his drumming was like the spring of a Swiss watch and he was uniquely talented at making himself an integral part of any jazz group.

Laura Veirs, Oran Mor, Glasgow

At few instalments of Glasgow's roots music festival Celtic Connections will the link between Celtic musical tradition and the younger country-folk sound of North America have been illustrated with such effortless grace. The Colorado-raised Laura Veirs, midway through her thirties and on the cusp of releasing her seventh album, is a songwriter of rare talents, a woman who can turn a neat little melody about bittersweet love and arrange it in such a way that it might fill the wildernesses of the New World.

My Fantasy Band: Example

Vocals and guitar - Jack White
He's one of my favourite artists of the last 10 years. I loved Horehound last year. He's got a really interesting voice and mind boggling lyrics.

Julian Casablancas, The Forum, London

Five heads are better than one

The opportunity of a lifetime for a young drumming sensation

Linden Berelowitz started playing the drums aged 10 and now, eight years later, has applied for Great Britons flights so he can attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, US, where he has been offered a scholarship to study the drums, following an audition in which the college described his playing as ‘outstanding’

Album: John Patitucci Trio, Remembrance, (Universal)

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.

Album: True Stories, Martin Simpson, Topic

Martin Simpson follows up 2007’s award-winning Prodigal Son with analbumcomprised of equal parts traditional and original material, all featuring his virtuoso handling of just about any stringed instrument.

Album: White Denim, Fits, (Full time hobby)

White denim: a ubiquitous thing given a twist. As with the name, so it is with the music. The second album from this Texas trio is rock music in its purest form – and yet there is nothing here that will remind you of anything else.

Tony Allen, Southbank Centre, London

Drumming up Lagos in London

Album: Tony Allen, Secret Agent (World Circuit)

Secret Agent finds the man regarded by Brian Eno as "perhaps the greatest drummer ever" back on the Afrobeat territory he helped establish nearly half a century ago alongside Fela Kuti.

Album: Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (Transgressive)

"This is my last song about myself, about my friends; found something else to sing," claims Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson on "Buriedfed", the opening song of this debut album.

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