Jazz: Eclectic mix, major sounds, many surprises


Preview: art: blue note

With artists such as John Coltrane, Chet Baker, Donald Byrd and Miles Davis signed to the label, you never needed an added incentive to buy a Blue Note record. And yet the cover art of these albums during the Fifties and Sixties made them collectors' items in their own right. To mark Blue Note's 60th anniversary, HMV is mounting an exhibition of its classic covers, many of them designed by Reid Miles, whose typographic experimentation - much of it built around the photographs of Blue Note founder Francis Wolff - raised LP design to an art form. Those little plastic CD boxes just don't hit the same aesthetic spot.

Pop/Jazz: Jazz & Blues

Over the past decade or so, tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano has emerged as one of the most interesting stylists of the era. An impressive series of albums on Blue Note have seen him working in a variety of settings, but he seems most comfortable in the trio setting seen on last year's highly-rated album Trio Fascination Edition One. His accompanists for the week at Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street that starts on Monday - Cameron Brown and Idris Muhamed - are not as well known as Dave Holland and Elvin Jones, the rhythm section for that record, but the shows should be fascinating.

Arts: It's only Reich'n'roll but I like it

DJs have been borrowing bits of Steve Reich for years. Now it's official: the barriers between `serious' music and mass culture have come down. By Robert Worby

The Critics' Awards 1998: Jazz - Good-bye, Tin Pan Alley. Hello, Europe Lane

Jan Garbarek, the Norwegian tenor and soprano saxophone player, has been outstanding in his field (and as fields go, it's a rather dry and stony Nordic one), since his first album for the German ECM label in 1970. Next year, ECM celebrates its 30th anniversary and Garbarek is still on board, with his long-awaited follow-up to Officium - the 1994 collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble that has sold close to a million copies worldwide - due to be released in April.

Pop: ...while Phil Johnson takes a deep breath before examining the latest offerings from the wonderful world of jazz

This box-set business may be getting out of hand. The Blue Note Years comprises 14 CDs, contained in 7 digi-packs, all set in an LP-sized box. The set also includes a 48-page booklet of session photographs by the label's co-owner, Francis Wolff, along with some contemporary pictures by Jimmy Katz. For this 60th anniversary celebration - 1939-99, and still going - of the greatest jazz record label there has ever been, you pay a price closer to the cost of annual car insurance than to normal impulse buys at Virgin or Tower. It's no wonder that it's a limited edition. The dedicated fans and collectors at whom the artefact is presumably aimed will already have most of the tracks featured on the discs, which are programmed according to both chronology and genre in seven volumes, such as "1955-1960: The Jazz Messenger" and "1956-1967: Organ and Soul".

Pop: Like nothing you've ever heard before

Phil Johnson celebrates the remastering of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew

Pop / Poetry: Shaggy dog tales of the half-unexpected


Music: Too good to be forgotten

Joe Harriott was one of the great jazz innovators of the Sixties, fit to rank with the heavyweights. So why isn't he as famous as John Coltrane? Because he was invisible.

Jazz: The sound of a pet-shop, burning

There are some pretty extreme jazz re-issues around. Better keep your finger on the CD skip-button. It's the New Thing, baby.

Jazz: First steps for the giant's heir


Ravi the son breaks free

First Night; Ravi Coltrane Group Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Jazz: Impressions of my father

It's taken time, but Ravi Coltrane is able to live up to a daunting legacy.

Classical Music: Still hooked on 'classics'

They're built up as icons. But are so-called seminal albums actually an y good? By Nick Coleman
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