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'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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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

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Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

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New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

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Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

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The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

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The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

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11 best sonic skincare brushes

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Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

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Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

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Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

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