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Swing Jazz

Album: Imelda May, Mayhem (Decca)

The Dickie Davies-haired queen of the rockabilly revival has already been number one in her native Ireland for most of the summer with her third album.

The Human Comedy, Young Vic, London

The Young Vic has an admirable tradition of kicking off its year with a production that pulls in the local community to play alongside professionals in the role of chorus – and the venue has had some of its most signal recent successes in this department. It now launches its 40th anniversary season in joyous fashion with the belated British premiere of The Human Comedy. A flawed, affecting show by Hair composer, Galt MacDermot, this piece flopped on Broadway in 1984, but it fits the bill here to an almost parodic degree in its celebration of the healing power of community and the unifying nature of song.

Louie Bellson: Jazz drummer and composer who played with Duke

Although he was with Duke for only a couple of years, Louie Bellson must be regarded as the last of the great Ellingtonians, for he had a lasting effect on the band. He replaced Sonny Greer, who had been the drummer in the Ellington band since it began in the Twenties, and he brought in a new and powerful style that brought Ellington’s music out of the almost classic style of the Forties into the new, more aggressive sounds of the Fifties.

Album: Sun Ra, Live in Cleveland, (Leo/Golden Years)

The recording is far from hi-fi but this 1975 session catches the Arkestra on absolutely stonking form and at a musical juncture – Sun Ra meets disco and proto-rap – that emphasises the continuities linking much black music.