Voices

The late Ravi Shankar became known in the West through his association with The Beatles. But there was far more to the man George Harrison called the "godfather" of world music. He was a champion of crossover in its fullest sense. His sitar spoke to all our souls.

A 'national treasure': Sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar dies aged 92

Ravi Shankar, the composer and sitar player who befriended the Beatles and acted as bridge between Indian music and the West, has died in southern California. He was 92 and had recently undergone heart surgery.

Bille Holliday, one of the giants of jazz, performed at the Lenox Lounge

Harlem nights fall silent with loss of lounge

Last call at the Lenox Lounge in Harlem will be just that on New Year's Eve, as its owner will unplug its iconic neon sign and put away the shot glasses on the low mahogany bar for the very last time, unable to pay the $20,000-a-month rent now being demanded by the landlord.

Lucinda Williams, Royal Festival Hall, London

London Jazz Festival

My Fantasy Band: Isaac Slade, The Fray

Bass: Adam Clayton

Shabazz Palaces - inside avant rap's soul

Miguel Cullen interviews Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces - the face of the avant-rap movement glamorised by Tyler the Creator - about rap selling its soul, winning a Grammy in another life and race-relations in America.

Album: Chucho Valdes, Chucho's Steps (World Village)

The master of madly chromatic Afro-Cuban piano, Chucho Valdes sounds right at the top of his prodigious form on this evocation of the jazz tradition, vamping away against drums and percussion with real fire.

Brit Jazz Festival to showcase some of Britain’s finest talent

This summer’s packed programme of music festivals continues with the Brit Jazz Festival, which kicks off tomorrow at London’s renowned jazz venue, Ronnie Scott’s.

Album: Nat Birchall, Guiding Spirit (Gondwana)

More great spiritual jazz from Manchester.

Album: Miles Davis, The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection (Columbia Legacy)

The ultimate Miles: from 'Kind of Blue' to kind of new

Black magic: Gilles Peterson on the enduring appeal of 1960s Afro-centric jazz

They were Afro-centric, space-travelling musical pioneers of far-out 1960s America. He was a DJ with a bongo habit in 1980s London. Gilles Peterson tells Nick Coleman how he fell for the art, sound and heroes of radical jazz

Album: Steve Kuhn Trio / Joe Lovano, Mostly Coltrane, (ECM)

Veteran pianist Steve Kuhn – who worked with John Coltrane in 1960 – is such a smooth and harmonically sophisticated player that for the iconic opening tune, "Welcome", he and Lovano on tenor sax seem almost too subtle for such a simple, emotionally intense theme.

Album: Kurt Elling, Dedicated to You, (Concord)

Elling is such a knock- 'em-dead singer that you're ready to forgive him anything, even this over egged tribute to John Coltrane's sublime 1963 album.

Freddie Hubbard: Virtuoso jazz trumpeter who played with John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Herbie Hancock during a 50-year career

If Louis Armstrong burst upon the jazz world like a star in 1923, then the trumpeter Freddie Hubbard became one of its biggest comets when he did the same in 1959. The incandescent moment came with the issue of an album, Sister Salvation, made under the leadership of the trombonist and Hubbard's fellow Indianapolitan Slide Hampton. Suddenly, here was a fully formed virtuoso, crackling with a full, brazen technique and bursting with ideas.

Music: Open ears and minds break down the walls of sound

The folk who commission music titles have begun to catch up with the state of our ears. Music lovers who switch happily between Bach and Björk, Miles and Monteverdi, still find that most books – like the industry – stumble along under the burden of primitive genre divisions. At last, 2008 saw two majestic works that herald a new eclecticism. The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by New Yorker critic Alex Ross (Fourth Estate, £20) ranks as my non-fiction book of the year. Erudite but engaging, written with flair and passion, it traces the fate of composition from Mahler and Strauss through Ellington and Sibelius to the Velvet Underground. Ross has a dazzling grasp of the dialectics of taste, technology and society. Björk herself (the latest of his genre-bending heroes) lauds him on the cover – and rightly so.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz