News

'We were exotic strangers competing for notches on the bedpost'

'Doctor Death' escapes charges

A former GP nicknamed "Doctor Death" will not be prosecuted for assisting a terminally ill man to commit suicide.

Baby died of 'accidental overdose'

An inquest into the death of a baby who died after NHS doctors prescribed too high a dose of drugs has recorded a verdict of accidental overdose.

Wynton Marsalis & Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Hackney Empire, London

Given the crippling costs of keeping 15 musicians in gainful employ, big bands are largely a thing of the past. But this sumptuous performance by Wynton Marsalis's stellar unit was a reminder that an orchestra remains a vital resource to any jazz musician. It offers both power and precision. Since the early 80s the New Orleans trumpeter has been exploring and extending the heritage of acoustic jazz, using 30s swing, 40s bebop and 50s post-bop as templates for his own creations and this final night of a five-day residency at various venues in London presented a panorama of those vocabularies. There were arrangements of legends like Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson and Jackie McLean and there were also original pieces by JALCO members such as saxophonist Ted Nash. His Dali suite, set in the tripwire time signature of 13/8, was a highlight for the intoxicating swirl of the horns, which culminated in Nash's alto becoming a dramatic echo to a stabbing improvisation by trumpeter Marcus Printup.

However, the presence of British guest musicians also raised the bar. Vibraphonist Jim Hart, tenor saxophonist Jean Toussaint and pianist Julian Joseph all took hard swinging solos and vocalist Cleveland Watkiss was imperious on an express train rendition of McLean's "Appointment in Ghana", in which his scat choruses revealed a timbral richness and phrasal trickery that had the horn players nodding in approval. In a delicious passage of his solo, Watkiss quoted the first part of the theme of Thelonious Monk's "Green Chimneys" at lightning speed before twisting its harmony in an entirely new direction. Yet what became apparent throughout the evening was the relevance of big band music to other genres, simply because of its enormous sonic range.

On slow passages the ornate, rippling textures evoked ambient music, on faster numbers, as the brass plunged deep into the low register, there was funk aplenty, and when the whole ensemble was in full flow, there was a soundtrack in search of a movie. Decked out in sharp suits and seated in three rows under the Hackney Empire's proscenium arch, Marsalis's orchestra indeed offered a big-screen spectacle for eyes and ears alike.

Meanwhile, the 'human mole' bites the dust

A retired civil engineer whose 40-year habit of tunnelling under his home led to him being removed to a top-floor flat in a tower block has died, leaving council bosses with a further bill after it was revealed he had continued his burrowing habit even when living several hundred feet above the ground.

In pursuit of London's Public Enemy No. 1

Andy McSmith finds a neighbourhood in shock following this week's fox attack

To see the world, just take a ride on the new East London Line to Forest Hill

Who'd have thought the opening of the new East London Line last month would give birth to a new cultural organisation in the capital? Yet the savvy people behind CultureLine (cultureline.org.uk) were quick to see the benefits that the new rail extension could bring to a string of attractions along the route.

You'll never play for England!: Meet the weekend warriors who represent the true spirit of football

The football is muddy, inelegant and occasionally bleak, but for the parishioners who flock there on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Hackney Marshes offers a game more beautiful than anything played out on high-definition television. In an age when a player can cost £80m and earn £200,000 a week, and when broadcasters pay billions for television rights, public pitches all over the country have become the spiritual home for a sport that has done its best to outgrow its roots.

Diane Abbott: Back to the future with old Labour

We used to provide intellectual and political leadership for the best impulses of society. We had hard-headed finance policies and genuine egalitarianism

Diane Abbott adds name to leadership contenders

Diane Abbott yesterday put herself forward as a left-wing contender to succeed Gordon Brown, arguing some of her rivals for the role had been "more focussed on winning the leadership battle" than on helping defeat the Tories in the election.

Charges for 1982 killing

A man has been charged with murdering a woman and her two children almost 30 years ago, Scotland Yard said yesterday.

Flowers for Agnes, but dope and guns for the boys

A weary community mourns 16-year-old Agnes Sina-Inakoju, the latest victim of a seemingly unstoppable gun culture

Murder probe as Turkish woman is shot dead in Clapton, east London

Detectives launched a murder inquiry today after a 26-year-old Turkish woman was shot dead.

Midwife wins appeal against being struck off

A midwife won a High Court appeal against being struck off today after a judge ruled she did not have a fair hearing.

Diane Abbott: You Ask The Questions

The Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington answers your questions, such as 'Why did your son go to private school?' and 'Isn't multiculturalism a failure?'

Justice on London's streets, the Jewish way

With his dark-blue uniform, earpiece and walkie-talkie, Nochem Perlberger could pass for a police officer as he patrols the leafy streets of London’s Stamford Hill neighbourhood. Like an officer of the law, he responds to emergency calls, visits crime scenes and pursues suspects.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee