Arts and Entertainment Dai & The Ramblers, Duw Duw

Duw Duw, Just Peachy Records

Ronny Jordan: Guitarist whose version of the Miles Davis classic tune ‘So What’ became an Acid Jazz dancefloor favourite

The Miles Davis standard “So What” has been a modal jazz touchstone for 55 years, providing the harmonic canvas for myriad improvisations and reinterpretations.

Yusef Lateef: Musician

Jazz composer and saxophonist who worked with Dizzy Gillespie and whose playing influenced John Coltrane

Album review: Robbie Williams, Swings Both Ways, Island

Those who endured Williams’s recent X Factor performance need not fear: this brassy sequel to 2001’s big-band LP Swing When You’re Winning, is actually rather listenable. Not to say it’s great: he’s a karaoke kind of crooner and some of the covers here – such as “I Wanna Be Like You” with Olly Murs – should have remained the preserve of some celebrity charity ball.

Album review: Archie Shepp, I Hear the Sound, Archie Ball

Shepp’s latest release is a great 40th anniversary recreation of his famous 1972 live album Attica Blues, a black-consciousness riposte to the four-day riot at Attica prison – sparked by the death, in 1971, of the Black Panther George Jackson – which left 43 people dead.

All that jazz: Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding

With crowds low and the average fan age high, we ask: Is jazz a dying art form?

On the eve of the London Jazz Festival, Phil Johnson ponders the genre’s future

Album review: Nana Vasconcelos, 4 Elementos
(Far Out Recordings)

Maybe when you are Brazil’s most revered percussionist (Vasconcelos has played with Jan Garbarek and Pat Metheny among others) you feel obliged to stretch the bashing-and-tapping-things envelope. For there doesn’t appear to be any musical reason for what sounds like underwater conga playing or, for that matter, rigorous crisp packet shaking.

The beat goes on: Stan Tracey

London Jazz Festival: Different strokes for key movers

Kit Downes and Stan Tracey riff on the state of their art ahead of the London Jazz Festival

Jazz album review: Michael Garrick Sextet, Prelude To Heart Is A Locus (Gearbox)

With its satisfyingly fat vinyl platters, audiophile-friendly downloads and imaginative catalogue of rediscovered gems (plus new recordings), LP specialist Gearbox is becoming one of the wonders of the age.

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: Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady (Bad Boy/Atlantic)

The Electric Lady extends the cyborg sci-fantasy tale of Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid, albeit in a less eclectic manner – the folk and psychedelic elements abandoned in favour of a more focused assault on R&B territory.

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.

Album review: Rizzle Kicks, Roaring 20s (Island)

Album of the Week: Rizzle dazzle with a fast-talking slice of everyday life

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'.

McPartland in 1970; she overcame her outsider status

Marian McPartland: Acclaimed jazz pianist and broadcaster

After beginning her career in British music halls, the pianist Marian McPartland left for the United States and became an unexpected jazz star. She forged a distinctive style, made scores of albums and composed music that was recorded by superstars.

Album: Iro Haarla Sextet, Kolibri (Tum)

Pianist/harpist and composer Haarla has been an important voice for decades (she was also the consort of the late, great Finnish bandleader Edward Vesala), and the seven pieces here reflect her absorption in the natural world, with titles such as "Nightjar" and "Spirit Bear".

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