Arts and Entertainment Robbie Williams is to release a new album called Swing Both Ways

Robbie Williams is getting back into the swing of things with a new album mixing cover versions of classics and his own songs.

Album: The Budos Band, The Budos Band III, (Daptone)

Achingly self-conscious instrumentals for hip NYC ironists, expressly not for the most solemn kind of Fela Kuti fan. "Afro-soul", then, with jazz-ay overtones, psychedelic undertones and a strong current of cop-show theme musicology through its middle; the "Blaxploitation" that dare not speak its name.

Album: Hot Club of Cowtown, What Makes Bob Holler (Proper)

The Bob of the title is Bob Wills, one of the daddies of western swing, that jovial place where jazz and country convened to slap their thighs in merriment in the middle of the last century.

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.

Album: Scott Hamilton / Alan Barnes, Hi-Ya (Woodville)

Mainstream jazz gets a bad rep as undemanding pipe-and-slippers music but it has become a valuable medium for players who really know what to do with a good melody.

Dancer spared jail over benefits fraud

A 61-year-old jazz dancer who fraudulently claimed nearly £20,000 in disability benefits walked free from court today.

Album: Heath Brothers, Endurance (Jazz Legacy)

Soon, jazz like this won’t exist any more.

Malcolm Laycock: Broadcaster who parted company with the BBC in a row over the age of Radio 2's target audience

By employing cutting-edge presenters, sometimes with disastrous consequences, BBC Radio 2 has been modernising its output. It wants to be seen as a trendy station for the mid-twenties and above. Generally, this has been effective, making it "the most listened to radio station in the UK", but many long-time favourites have been axed. In July this year, Malcolm Laycock's celebration of pre-war dance band music, Sunday Night At 10, was removed from the schedules, and he was replaced by a rather more contemporary look at swing music from Clare Teal.

Album: Various Artists, Teenage: the Creation of Youth, 1911-1946 (Trikont)

Compiled to accompany Jon Savage's book tracing the roots of the notion of the teenager from the late 19th century to the Second World War, Teenage doubles as a fine anthology of early 20th-century swing and jazz

Louie Bellson: Jazz drummer and composer who played with Duke Ellington’s band

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.

Album: Issie Barratt, Astral Pleasures, (Fuzzy Moon)

In contrast to the big band orthodoxy of Maria Schneider and Vince Mendoza – all woodwind sighs and whispers – composer Barratt has a refreshingly heavy touch.

Hector Zazou

Further to Jon Lusk's obituary of Hector Zazou (10 September), writes Ken Hunt, Pierre Job's alias had a far greater resonance than merely alluding to a post-war hipster subculture. Les Zazous were the French manifestation of an anti-fascist youth subculture that sprang up in many occupied countries in the 1930s and 1940s. They allied themselves with swing jazz – labelled degenerate by the Nazis – and listened and danced to it at great personal peril. Such a person in France was a Zazou, in Czechoslovakia a Potapky (ducking and diving like "great crested grebes") and in Germany and Austria a Schlurf – a taunting term of abuse for sluts and louts turned around.

Sexism in the cellars

There's no shortage of women vocalists in jazz, but female bands of the Some Like It Hot variety remain a rarity. Sholto Byrnes laments a latent chauvinism
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