Category Archives: Music

More strings than swing

From my review of Gregory Porter’s latest visit to the Albert Hall: This might have been a world record. Has anyone in the history of mass marketing dared to perform The Christmas Song when we are still recuperating from Easter? Since this … Continue reading

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Shock tactics

You are a middle-aged, female musician playing a solo gig at a small venue where a gaggle of laddish men, completely uninterested in your songs, are making so much noise that you can barely hear yourself. You politely ask them … Continue reading

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Joan Baez’s “Fare Thee Well” tour

The folk queen is on the road one last time, or so she says. Her voice may be darker than it once was, but that actually is no bad thing – the lengthening shadows give the lyrics extra resonance.  The … Continue reading

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Legend

PS: “Chan Chan” is the song that everyone knows – it became the anthem of the Buena Vista Social Club – but of the many, many other pieces he recorded “Macusa” has always been my favourite.

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Voices

Sandra Bernhard clearly loved being at Ronnie Scott’s. Wouldn’t it be fun if she became a regular visitor? Mr S himself would probably have enjoyed her brand of humour: Who would have thought she would end up here? Sandra Bernhard … Continue reading

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Notebook

I sit in the front of the car with Elke and doze as we listen to David Hasselhof  songs on Bob! Radio (fuck me) and head to Potsdam for a live radio interview on the way to Berlin. At the … Continue reading

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Nige swings George

My review of Nigel Kennedy’s Gershwin gig at Ronnie Scott’s: Fist-bumps all round. Nigel Kennedy never disguises his pleasure at being on the same bandstand where, as a teenager, he once played alongside his mentor, Stéphane Grappelli. Nearly half a … Continue reading

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Bob Marley, Middle East-style

He would have been 73 today.  Somewhere in one of my files I still have the special edition of West Indian World newspaper that I helped turn out in the days after his death in 1981.  It was hard to … Continue reading

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Folk fail & thrill

There was a standing ovation at the end. I had the feeling that I was the only person in the Union Chapel who didn’t enjoy The Transports: Its heart is in the right place, and the singing is full of … Continue reading

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The listener

Nick Coleman’s book on the singers and musicians who mean the most to him has its pretentious moments, but you’ll be rewarded if you make it through to the end.  From my review in The Times: All of us who … Continue reading

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