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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform