Arts and Entertainment

A documentary on Birmingham? Thanks but no thanks, I thought to myself while pondering the new series of Reimagining the City. Seriously, Birmingham? It's hardly Florence or Cairo or Cape Town. No one nudges their partner on a soggy January morning and says wistfully, "Darling, wouldn't it be just lovely if we could leave all this behind and disappear to Birmingham?"

Lou Reed, Royal Festival Hall, London

“Was it too quiet for you, asshole?” Lou Reed enquires, putting all the dripping contempt he can muster, which is plenty, into demolishing a fan who unwisely, ironically yelled “Louder!” after tonight’s first song.

Album: Ravi Coltrane, Spirit Fiction (Blue Note)

The Blue Note debut by saxophonist Coltrane (yes, the son of Alice and John, who died when Ravi was two) can be as frustratingly tentative as his first outing for RCA 15 years ago.

Album: Pat Metheny, Unity Band (Nonesuch)

A partial return to top form for the widdly-diddly axe-meister.

Einstein on the Beach, Barbican Theatre, London

Philip Glass's gargantuan minimalist classic Einstein on the Beach – though he hates the term 'minimalist' – premiered in Avignon, and has taken 36 years to reach the London stage.

Album: Esperanza Spalding, Radio Music Society (Heads Up/Decca

After the charming acoustic set Chamber Music Society, and just-pipping Bieber to a Grammy for Best New Artist, bassist, singer and composer Spalding tries to breathe new life into the dead form of smooth jazz-fusion.

Tune-Yards, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Is it a tribal chant or a yodel? A squawk or a chirrup? Merrill Garbus - aka Tune-Yards - is back, after the triumphant critical success of last year's album whokill, and live she's as arresting as ever.

Jerry Dammers' Spatial A.K.A Orchestra, Barbican, London

If, as Einstein maintained, the universe is constantly expanding, then Jerry Dammers' Spatial A.K.A Orchestra may be the ideal vehicle in which to explore its outer limits, this being a characteristic it emulates, with the addition of a string section now expanding its ranks to some 24 musicians.

Album: Martin Speake, Live at Riverhouse (Pumpkin)

Some musicians make fun of corny standards.

Album: Keith Tippet Octet, From Granite to Wind (Ogun)

What's great about this rare new ensemble-recording by pianist/composer Tippett is the way it runs together swinging, South African influenced grooves with free-jazz freak-outs.

Bruce Springsteen pays tribute to Clarence Clemons

Bruce Springsteen has paid tribute to saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who died aged 69 over the weekend.

The Boss mourns his beloved saxophonist

Clarence Clemons, the saxophone player who helped propel Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band into global rock'n'roll dominance for three decades, died late on Saturday, a week after suffering a stroke. He was 69.

Heads Up: Bluesfest London

Bolt from the blues – the UK's original festival returns

Album: Lee Konitz, Live at Birdland (ECM)

That alto saxophonist Konitz plays as well as he does at 82 years of age is remarkable, but that doesn't mean you want to hear this 2009 recording very often, despite the contributions of Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian. Always an eccentric soloist, Kontiz's ideas seem as fresh as ever but a lack of puff renders his tone thin and weedy.

Tony Levin: Drummer who excelled with Tubby Hayes and became a leading exponent of free jazz

Although best known as the drummer in tenor saxophonist Tubby Hayes's quartet, Tony Levin was an adventurous musician who liked to move forward.

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