Arts and Entertainment

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, London

JAZZ / Band on the run: Roy Ayers - Ronnie Scott's, London

PRETENDING his audience is on loan from Madame Tussaud's, and asking them to 'join hands and see if we can contact the living' is one of Ronnie Scott's best- loved jokes. But as he introduced the American vibist Roy Ayers and his band on Tuesday night, Scott didn't know how close to the mark he was. Despite having one of the world's greatest feel-good groups on stage, a lifeless crowd didn't appear to be feeling anything for much of the first set. Even the imperturbable Ayers noted that 'it looks like some of you haven't been out in three or four months'.

JAZZ DIARY / Heavy on the relish: Correction

Correction

Brum tugs at the harp strings: Before you sneer at Birmingham, come and hear the winds of change, says Chris Arnot

Birmingham will be the centre of Europe on Friday. Not London, not Paris, not Brussels, but Birmingham. No wonder the Lord Mayor was buoyant when it was announced that the city's International Convention Centre would host the EC summit.

JAZZ / Aiming for the big apple: This weekend, for the first time in its history, the Proms is to host a full programme of jazz. Phil Johnson reports

Rossini's William Tell overture inevitably brings to mind the galloping television theme-tunes of The Lone Ranger, or the early Sixties series starring Conrad Phillips as the swashbuckling Swiss outlaw. With all this pop- cultural baggage, the music is not an obvious choice for appropriation by a contemporary composer - unless, of course, the aim is to get an easy laugh.

JAZZ / Sink and swim: Phil Johnson reviews Airto Moreira and family at Ronnie Scott's, London

'WHEN listening to this music, sit or lie down comfortably with your eyes closed. If you wish, you can stand up and move your arms and legs in slow, wide tai-chi motions as if you were underwater.' The percussionist Airto Moreira's latest album, The Other Side of This (Ryko), makes uncommon demands on the listener. The sleeve- notes include instructions to imagine you're a tumbleweed or a fish, or to 'stand up and stomp on the ground repeating the words 'Hey Ya' over and over again'. At Ronnie Scott's, where floor space is at a premium and the minders shush you for just talking, it was always going to be difficult to do a live set based on the album. Wisely, Airto (pronounced Aye-Air-Toe) didn't try. The only New Age trapping was a cone of incense that burned throughout the performance, giving the faded red plush setting of the club an incongruous head- shop smell.

JAZZ / An hour which passed in a single breath

WHAT A PRECIOUS little fellow Keith Jarrett is. No cameras in the hall, please, no recording equipment, sit still, don't cough, practically don't even breathe while Keith is bent over the Steinway, ear cocked, taking dictation direct from God. I mean, if Ronnie Scott's - clouds of smoke, whisky fumes, noisy expense-account diners and all - was good enough for Bill Evans, a pianist of translucent sensibility, what makes Jarrett think he's any different? That's what some people believe, anyway, and they should have been at the Festival Hall last week to see him get his comeuppance.
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