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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: Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Universal)

In the aftermath of Cream's bombastic sonic maelstrom, Eric Clapton sought gentler refuge in the gospelly R&B of Delaney & Bonnie, from whose ranks he eventually acquired the rhythm section for Derek and the Dominos.

Album: R.E.M. Collapse Into Now (Warner)

R.E.M's 15th album could trade places with almost any of the previous 14.

Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore found dead in holiday hotel

The rock guitarist Gary Moore, famed for his fretwork with the legendary Irish band Thin Lizzy, died yesterday while on holiday on the Costa del Sol.

Album: Aethenor, En Form for Bla (VHF)

A quartet of avantly inclined souls – including Derek Bailey's drum chum Steve Noble and Stephen O'Malley, guitarist in Sunn0))) – getting into some sort of weird anti-groove live in Oslo.

Album: James Walbourne, The Hill (Heavenly)

As a session guitarist who looks like the son of most of the acts he plays with (Peter Bruntnell, the Pretenders, the Pogues, the Pernice Brothers), it's hard not to notice Walbourne if you're lucky enough to have caught him live.

Nick Valensi admits The Strokes' 'hostility and resentment'

Nick Valensi admits there are still "undertones of resentment and hostility" in The Strokes.

Richard Thompson, Royal Festival Hall, London

Striding onstage in his trademark Wolfie Smith black beret, jeans and shirt, Richard Thompson grins sheepishly at the applause, hefts his powder-blue Stratocaster and makes a few self-deprecating noises about being here at the Festival Hall yet again. It's now almost a second home for Tommo, who curated last year's Meltdown Festival here – and if the place ever needed a house band, they could do far worse than Thompson's current unit, whose members seem able to turn their hands to just about any style, in any metre required.

Liam Gallagher's freebie for fans

Liam Gallagher is to give away the first track from his new post-Oasis band, it was announced today.

Album: Bill Frisell, Beautiful Dreamers, Savoy

After umpteen albums for the Nonesuch label, guitarist Frisell’s debut for Savoy continues in a familiar vein with this bucolic, plinky-plonk trio featuring Eyvind Kang on viola and drummer Rudy Royston.

Album: Black Country Reunion, BCR, Mascot

A “supergroup” comprising the veteran rocker Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple), Bonzo’s boy Jason, guitarist Joe Bonamassa and a bloke from Dream Theater.

Album: Richard Thompson, Dream Attic (Proper)

Thirteen new songs recorded with full band and great energy at assorted American venues, in all the favoured Ricardian registers, from sardonic (you can imagine what he has to say about bankers, and how he says it) to harshly elegaic to bleakly whimsical (Sidney Wells is a serial killer, you know!).

Slim Bryant: Guitarist who had his roots in the earliest days of country music

Slim Bryant was one of the last surviving links with the earliest days of country music, a time when the genre was still labelled as "hillbilly".

Tony Peluso: Guitarist whose solos on The Carpenters' 'Goodbye to Love' ushered in the power-ballad era

One of the biggest acts of the Seventies, the sibling duo of Karen and Richard Carpenter were far from a self-contained unit. Lyricist John Bettis regularly collaborated with Richard and with him co-wrote several of their most successful singles, notably "Yesterday Once More", "Top of the World", "Only Yesterday" and "Goodbye to Love". In 1972, the lead guitarist Tony Peluso played the masterful, melodic, memorable fuzz solos which transformed the soft-rock classic "Goodbye to Love" into the prototype for the power ballad. He remained a mainstay of The Carpenters' studio and touring band for the next 12 years and contributed to the studio albums A Song for You, Now & Then, Horizon, A Kind of Hush, Passage, Made in America and Voice from the Heart as well as their TV specials and their Live In Japan and Live at the Palladium recordings.

Album: Roky Erickson with Okkervil River, True Love Cast Out All Evil (Chemikal Underground)

America's very own Syd Barrett, 13th Floor Elevators founder Roky Erickson virtually invented psychedelia and garage-rock before drug abuse and paranoid schizophrenia left him committed to a mental asylum for years.

Rokia Traoré, Koko, London

That Rokia Traoré is not your typical Malian star is reflected in the choice of venue, typically home to rock gigs and club nights, and her experimental rock support, the Mercury-nominated Sweet Billy Pilgrim.

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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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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
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas