Arts and Entertainment

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Music review: London Jazz Festival- Jazz Voice, Barbican

The London Jazz Festival’s typically packed opening weekend finished with a bravura set from saxophonist Wayne Shorter, undiminished at 80, picking out space for solo revelation as the BBC Concert Orchestra gave his compositions classical heft. Jazz Voice, though, remains the festival’s curtain-raiser, dryly introduced by Victoria Wood and bringing together diverse singers over big band swing.

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 review: Various Artists, Afro-Beat Airways 2 (Analog Africa)

The accompanying information’s boast of “ultra-rare tracks” could have been a euphemism for “scraping the barrel”. But because of the apparently bottomless pit of 1970s Afro-funk still being found and dusted down – and because this is an Analog Africa release – you can be sure quality control has been maintained for this “Return to Ghana 1974-1983”.

Album: Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady (Atlantic)

Following her 2010 album, The ArchAndroid, was always going to be tricky. In The Electric Lady, Janelle Monae continues to occupy her high-concept cyber-world as Cindi Mayweather, a droid alter-ego from the year 2719. But she also, thankfully, knows how to write a jam. Top collaborators help: there are slick, tasty duos with Prince, Erykah Badu and Solange.

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'.

Nick Helm - 'One Man Mega Myth'

Edinburgh 2013: Nick Helm and John Kearns tackle failed machismo for laughs

Nick Helm: One Man Mega Myth

John Kearns: Sight Gags for Perverts

My beard: I wanted Captain Haddock. I got George Michael

I'm back in Britain after two- and-half-weeks on holiday in the South of France. Having just done two months of solid filming for Fool Britannia 2, it wasn't just my mind that needed a rest. It was also my poor face, that had undergone about three hours of prosthetics every morning in order to transform me into whatever weird character we were filming that day. I was sick of putting stuff on my skin, so I decided to give it a total detox and not shave or do anything for the whole holiday. And so it began, my initiation into the world of the beard.

Album review: Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines (Polydor/Interscope)

It's amazing what one hit can do for an act's profile: Robin Thicke had laboured long and hard with little recognition outside the core US R&B audience until the single “Blurred Lines”, its loping groove irresistibly peppered with cowbell, wrought its magic on a global scale.

Rudimental and Bipolar Sunshine

Rudimental: How being a collaborator is on the right track after all

Collaborations between artists are typically orchestrated by record labels hoping to generate the next chart hit, but on this occasion the chart-topping dance act Rudimental had the chance to do their own A&R, picking a rising act with whom to work on a new track. Given the challenge of writing, recording, releasing and performing an original track within a 24-hour time frame, they picked emerging artist Manchester-based Bipolar Sunshine, aka Adio Marchant, the former front man of indie-ska band Kid British.“We discovered Bipolar Sunshine's tune Fire on YouTube and thought it was great – great vocals and lyrics,” Rudimental's Piers Agget tells me.

Prince plays at the Montreux Jazz Festival

Gig review: Prince, Auditorium Stravinski, Montreux Jazz Festival

When Prince comes to the Montreux Jazz Festival, all bets are off. On his third visit to the Swiss Riviera for the 47th edition of the event, he was given carte blanche over three consecutive, sold-out evenings and appeared determined to cover as many bases as possible.

Album: Jupiter & Okwess International, Hotel Univer (Out Here Records)

Less approachable than Staff Benda Bilili, not as sonically challenging as Konono No1, this new contender for best Congolese band on the planet is fronted by one-time Damon Albarn collaborator Jupiter Bokondji.

Jamie Cullum, Momentum (Island)

Album review: Jamie Cullum, Momentum (Island)

Jamie Cullum's first album for Island may be his best. It certainly goes beyond his retro-jazz comfort zone, with piercing electric organ and electric piano lending a vibrant, visceral edge to several songs.

Pat Metheny, Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol 20 (Nonesuch)

Album review: Pat Metheny, Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol 20 (Nonesuch)

Since the 1980s, John Zorn has composed 500 songs inspired by traditional Jewish music, a series known as the Masada Book, variously recorded by adventurous musicians such as Marc Ribot and now Pat Metheny.

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