Arts and Entertainment

Ronnie Scott’s, London

Album Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS The Big Lebowski


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The Critics: Jazz: Nina, Nina, Nina, goddam

Well , she got the first standing ovation for just turning up. The others followed fairly regularly after that, but it was the opener that was perhaps the most deserved. Hobbling on to the Barbican stage with the aid of two helpers, and cocooned in a mink coat (a nice touch for a Womad event) over a voluminous sparkly gown, Nina Simone looked every bit as big as her legend. Indeed, she looked more than a little like the late actor Divine.

World music: Still doing it her way

Nina Simone at Womad Barbican Hall, London

Pop: Been around the world...

Aboriginal vocalists, Celtic instrumentalists and a Somali wedding tent... All part of the WOMAD festival at the Barbican this weekend

JAZZ / Abbey Lincoln St Lucia Jazz Festival

And the band played on... for all the jazz diva's beautiful disdain.

Songster Mao makes a great leap forward



Self-taught pianist Weldon Irvine has been a prominent jazz artist since 1964, responsible for honing the finest talent in New York. He's written more than 200 compositions, recorded by the likes of Freddie Hubbard and Nina Simone. On Friday and Saturday night, at the Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, NW1, he'll be playing his jazz dance classics, like "Walk that Walk, Talk that Talk". These days, Weldon is one of the most frequently sampled jazz composers and his love for hip hop has seen him recording a jazz rap album.

LIVES OF THE GREAT SONGS / Ev'ry which way but loose: Ev'ry time we say goodbye: In the latest excerpt from our history of the hits, Giles Smith presents a guided tour of an urbane wasteland

COLE PORTER, ingenious and effusive as a lyricist, was often restrained to the point of austerity as a composer. His attitude seems to have been: why use two notes where one will do? Think of 'Night and Day', with its introductory verse entirely on a single note and the little strings of repeated notes the melody keeps returning to. Or think of 'Miss Otis Regrets' and the long run on the same note in its opening line ('Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today').

Zoe Heller In America: No place to get lost in, the village of New York

I WAS GOING uptown on the subway the other day, when a man got on at 59th Street and sat down right next to me. The carriage was pretty empty, and there were plenty of other seats available, so straight away I gave him a terrifically filthy look.

ROCK / Frank's blind dates

SOMETIMES, two can be a crowd. On Duets (Capitol/EMI, out on Monday), Frank Sinatra's first studio album in more than a decade, the old master's voice gets shoe-horned into some uncomfortable proximities (not to mention the year's most horrible cover). The disc does not start well. Luther Vandross is a great singer, but his professional smoothness and Frank's dry-as-dust phrasing rub each other up the wrong way, and their 'Lady is a Tramp' is all over the place. The next pairing - 'What Now My Love?', with Aretha Franklin - is much more felicitous, and by the time Barbra Streisand glides into earshot for 'I've Got a Crush on You' all concerned seem to be enjoying themselves: 'I have got a crush, my Barbra, on you.' 'Oh, you make me blush, Francis.'

ALBUMS / The road to Hatfield


REVIEWS / Blood complicated

Red Rock West (15) John Dahl (US) The Assassin (18) John Badham (US) The Fencing Master (12) Pedro Olea (Sp)

CABARET / Hanging on her lips: Tristan Davies reviews Sandra Bernhard's Giving Till It Hurts at the Edinburgh Playhouse

'Bunny Wannabe Sandra Bernhard STARKERS]' Tall travellers, Edinburgh-bound, may have noticed these words screaming down at them from the top shelves of magazine racks in airports and stations, accompanied by a picture of a woman with unfeasibly large lips, hands on hips, pouting aggressively in full bunny regalia.

FILM / Croak and dagger adventures

Freddie as F R 0 7 (U) Jon Acevski (UK); The News Boys (PG) Kenny Ortega (US); Waiting (15) Jackie McKimmie (Aus); Without You I'm Nothing (no cert) John Boskovitch (US)
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