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?"

Album: Heinz Sauer/ Michael Wollny, If (Blue) Then (Blue) (Act)

The musical partnership of tenor saxophonist Sauer (born 1932) and pianist Michael Wollny (born 1978) has been one of the highlights of the past jazz decade.

Album: Chris Wood, Handmade Life (RUF Records)

Anyone lucky enough to have caught his recent tour will remember the exact mid-song moment the audience realised an ominously thrumming Wood's number was about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Pete King: The power behind the throne at Ronnie Scott's jazz club

We want you to enjoy yourselves," Ronnie Scott told the audience in his club, "so eat, drink and be merry. Pretend you're on the Titanic."

Album: Nat Birchall, Akhenaten (Gondwana)

More spiritual jazz from Manchester.

Sonny Rollins, Barbican Hall, London

He blew like the legend he is – so why am I blubbing?

Jeff Clyne: Bassist and stalwart of the British jazz scene for 40 years

For four decades, Jeff Clyne led the way as the most accomplished and versatile of British bass players.

Album: Tord Gustavsen Ensemble, Restored, Returned (ECMM)

Norwegian pianist Gustavsen tempts fate by departing from his winning trio format for a darker, denser quartet sound, with the excellent post-Garbarek saxophonist Tore Brunborg added to piano, bass and drums (the superb Jarle Vespestad once again).

Gary Crosby's Nu Troop/Denys Baptiste Quartet, Ronnie Scott's, London

Coltrane tunes turn the air blue

Album: Trevor Watts, The Deep Blue, (Jazz Werkstatt)

Like a funky version of John Surman's celebrated solo performances, fellow English saxophonist Trevor Watts (born York, 1939) creates an ecstatic sound-world of overlapping reed-voices, set against a lattice of electronic beats, human percussion and synthesisers.

Album: John Patitucci Trio, Remembrance, (Universal)

While you can argue about fidelity to the big idea – 11 tunes conceived as tributes to musicians from the past – and, indeed, the point of that idea in the first place, bassist John Patitucci's trio partners of saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Brian Blade play so well that the whole thing works anyway.

My Secret Life: Courtney Pine, jazz musician, 45

My parents were ... My father, Keith, was a carpenter and my mother, Violet, was a housing manager. They are both still alive, hardworking, traditional and determined to survive in this cold environment.

Richard Hawdon: Jazz trumpeter and bandleader

I'd like to be a jolly extrovert," said Dickie Hawdon. "I look as miserable as sin on the stand, even when I'm having a ball." Despite the lack of "showbiz" panache, Hawdon went on to be one of the most accomplished musicians to grace British jazz. "I might do better if I could jolly about a bit, but I'm sure that if you force it, that shows too, so I do as little as possible."

Album: The Modern Jazz Quartet, Bluesology, (Atlantic)

A timely reappraisal for the monumental MJQ, whose reputation has rather slipped over the years.

Album: Colin Steele, Stramash, (Gadgemo)

Scottish trumpeter Steele has blended jazz and folk before, but this unorthodox dectet is his most ambitious project yet.

Album: Steve Kuhn Trio / Joe Lovano, Mostly Coltrane, (ECM)

Veteran pianist Steve Kuhn – who worked with John Coltrane in 1960 – is such a smooth and harmonically sophisticated player that for the iconic opening tune, "Welcome", he and Lovano on tenor sax seem almost too subtle for such a simple, emotionally intense theme.

News
news
New Articles
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all