Miles Davis - latest news, breaking stories and comment - The Independent
Arts and Entertainment

This fine if elusive novel about a jazz giant echoes his art in both its style and its story-telling

Jazz: Fusion or confusion?

For some critics, the Seventies was the decade in which jazz died. But James Maycock argues that fusion jazz, as popularised by CTI Records, was unfairly criticised and may actually have given the genre the kiss of life.

Jazz: Playing time, and making a living is easy

The career of the great American tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson makes for a case-study in the interplay of art and commerce. Phil Johnson enjoys a happy mix of sweet swing in a triumphant version of `Porgy and Bess'.

Music: Great jazz, with fusion of sorts

Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter Barbican, London

Music - Jazz: Capturing the real stuff on the hoof

A young jazz enthusiast who made illicit recordings of John Coltrane's live sets in the 1940s harnessed the spirit of a movement. That pursuit of spontaneity is what makes a new jazz CD collection so covetable.

PROMS BBC Symphony Orchestra / Oliver Knussen Royal Albert Hall, London / Radio 3

Elliott Carter as cheer leader? The 91-year-old composer looked on last Tuesday as his youthful indiscretion enjoyed a rare action replay. His 1944 Holiday Overture was a cheer all right, a last hurrah for the "new deal", the new aesthetic of Aaron Copland, whose "simple gifts" had so eloquently restored pride in America's musical heritage. But, more than that, it was a celebration. Paris, city of Nadia Boulanger, mentor to both composers, had been liberated and Carter was going to kick some ass. Holiday Overture is Walton's Portsmouth Point with rim-shots. Sassy and syncopated. There's a fugue - a mark of respect, perhaps, for Boulanger's quiet classicism - but the pay-off is pure Charles Ives with each of Carter's themes jostling for pride of place in the victory parade. It sounded like something the Dallas Symphony might have left behind, except that Oliver Knussen and the BBC Symphony played it with the kind of muscle and true grit that, dare I say it, was more American than the Americans.

On the fiddle

With just a guitar, a fiddle and the instrument of silence, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill create a fragile magic, says a bewitched Colin Harper

Classical: Slow but sure

Back home in Georgia, Giya Kancheli used to think big. Now based in Germany, he spreads his music more thinly, but covers much the same spiritual ground. By Robert Cowan

The lady comes in from the dark

In 1941, Gertrude Lawrence and Danny Kaye stunned Broadway with Weill and Gershwin's groundbreaking 'Lady in the Dark'. Finally, says, David Benedict, it's arrived in London

Hush now

John Scofield has gone quiet. He's swapped his electric jazz guitar for a nylon-stringed acoustic. With mellow, Gil-ish results. By Phil Johnson

It's only rock 'n' roll with knobs on

From Living Colour to 'Mistaken Identity', Vernon Reid just wants to rock. By Phil Johnson

The Black Crowes Three Snakes and One Charm American 74321 38484

It'll probably grow on me over time, but for the moment this sounds like the most turgid offering yet from the Atlanta rockers. On their day, they're the best live band in the world, but here the layers of guitar and keyboards seem too densely packed to achieve lift-off, leaving several tracks straining to rise above their riffs.

Music / Blood on the Floor QEH, London

For decades, jazz and classical music have eyed each other, yearning for a liaison neither dares initiate. Composers long for the articulacy and freedom jazz enjoys, jazzers want the status, if not the respectability, bestowed on composition. Mark-Anthony Turnage spent time studying with Gunther Schuller, who played with Miles Davis in the Fifties and came closer than most to fusing composition and jazz, a fusion that he labelled "Third Stream". Like Schuller, Turnage spent his teenage years adoring jazz, and now uses the orchestra with the exuberance of the best jazz orchestrators. Yet his music doesn't sound like jazz. Nor should it, unless he wants it to.

In the bloodstream

Who ever said listening should be easy? Not Mark-Anthony Turnage, whose latest piece injects themes of drug abuse and urban angst into a high-octane cocktail of jazz and classical styles

Surgeon seeks a cure for lip-sore trumpeters

Jazzmen, take heart. A British surgeon has set out to cure trumpeter's lip, the secret curse of musicians which may have prematurely ended the top-class performances of many legendary jazz figures, including Louis Armstrong.
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