Arts and Entertainment Dai & The Ramblers, Duw Duw

Duw Duw, Just Peachy Records

Handel, Messiah, English National Opera

Messiah has always been about the communal experience, the shared tradition – especially at Christmas. We dutifully stand for the “Hallelujah!” chorus, feeling but perhaps not really understanding the release it brings, and why.

Album: Trio VD, Fill It Up with Ghosts (Babe)

Remember the Fast Show sketch about the trumpeter who, instead of blowing, sucked?

Protest against trumpets at World Cup grows

Japan's soccer chief has joined in the chorus of protestors wanting the noisy vuvuzela trumpet to be banned from next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Album: Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu, Chiaroscuro, (ECM)

Spare and mournful, Sunday-morning coffee and croissants music from the duo of veteran guitarist and Oregon founder Towner and the superb Sardinian trumpeter Fresu, who also plays a mean flugelhorn.

Album: Karl Jenkins, Stella Natalis (EMI Classics)

Karl Jenkins' Christmas album is a two-part affair, his 12-song title suite followed by nine arrangements of traditional carols and spirituals from around the world such as "The First Noel", "Go Tell It On The Mountain", "Silent Night" and the infectiously staccato Burgundian song "Pat a Pan".

Album: Rickie Lee Jones, Balm in Gilead (Fantasy)

I worried that Rickie Lee Jones's 13th album might involve an extension of the overtly Christian ruminations of 2007's unsatisfying The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard; but it seems employed here in a more general metaphorical sense, of music as spiritual medicine. That's certainly the impression given by the reflective blues-jazz piece "Blue Ghazel", whose wordless vocal hums and growls sound like someone talking in tongues over "It's A Man's Man's Man's World"; and by "His Jeweled Floor", whose reverberant drone is ultimately more moving than the vocals which supplant it. But, elsewhere, Jones wanders stylistically from the wistful country music of "Remember Me?" and Paul Simon-esque poignancy of "Bonfires", to the Laura Nyro-style blue-eyed soul of "Old Enough", a duet with Ben Harper. She hasn't lost her gift for the telling line, as when reassuring her daughter in "Wild Girl" that "the thing that makes you beautiful doesn't come out of a jar"; but surprisingly, the standout track, "The Moon is Made of Gold", turns out to have been written long ago by her father. A jazzy soon-to-be standard similar in mood and tone to "Midnight at the Oasis", it features whistling and mouth-trumpet in the manner of Leon Redbone, and a deliciously sweet guitar solo by Bill Frisell.

Album: Tomasz Stanko Quintet, Dark Eyes, (ECM)

Polish trumpeter Stanko's new Finnish and Nordic quintet, with Jacob Bro on guitar, can sound either plangently acoustic or modestly electric.

Guca Festival, Guca, Serbia

Each year in August, a tiny hayrick-ringed town in southern Serbia hosts the wildest, noisiest, rawest and probably most popular music festival you have never heard of. Guca attracts nearly half a million people from the Balkans and beyond to the biggest celebration on the planet of trumpet music. But blow those preconceptions from your horn right away. This is a gypsy-derived style that has four settings: mournful, manic, very manic, and terrifyingly frenzied. It sounds like the music of the id, the expression of that dark space in the soul where sex and war and passion are born and bubble and fester.

Album: Dave Rivello Ensemble, Facing the Mirror (Allora)

Aprotégé of Bob Brookmeyer,who writes thesleevenotes, composer/bandleader Rivello is areal find with a distinctiveorchestral voice.

George Russell: Composer and theorist who provided inspiration for Miles Davis and broke new ground for jazz musicians

At the time he wrote the composition that fired off his career, George Russell didn't have a garret in which to starve. He was a creative composer whose urgent talents were known to the inner cognoscenti of jazz musicians, but his great works only seemed to stick up when the tide went out. Although of similar talent, he never achieved the momentum with the great jazz public that Gil Evans did. And heaven knows the GJP looked in the other direction while even Gil Evans enjoyed musical riches and endured physical poverty.

Headingley silences Barmy Army trumpeter

The Barmy Army, that noisy crowd that follows the England cricket team wherever it goes, will be marching into battle this weekend minus a trumpet.

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: Kaija Saariaho, L'Amour De Loin, Harmonia Mundi

Kaija Saariaho's first opera will surely become one of the emblematic works of the decade, its theme of cross-cultural relationships holding up a mirror to our own atomised, divided times.

Observations: Tête à Tête's Lite Bites provide little voyages and big discoveries

As the company that pioneered the 15-minute opera form, and scored a world first by staging an opera inside a zorb ball, Tête à Tête has always been at the cutting edge. For its 2009 festival, one of its strands, Lite Bites, will take place in streets, Tube stations and local parks.

Album: Handel, Royal Fireworks / Due Cori, Zefiro / Bernardini, (D. Harmonia Mundi)

This isn't the loudest or most lavish Musick for the Royal Fireworks but Zefiro's intimately scaled performance has bags of charm.

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