Category Archives: Reviews

Is Moonlight really the best film of the year?

It’s years since I wanted to rush out to see a film just because it won Best Picture at the Oscars – I’ve been burnt far too many times. So I went along to “Moonlight” telling myself not to fall … Continue reading

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The circus brothers

My Times review of Truevine, Beth Macy’s account of the lives of the black albino brothers, George and Willie Muse, star turns in American freak shows: As minor celebrities they appeared in the pages of The New Yorker — usually … Continue reading

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The voice

It goes without saying that the new release from Rhiannon Giddens is my record of the week in the Sunday Times: So much for that “difficult second album” challenge. If the roots singer/banjo player’s 2015 solo debut was a breathtaking … Continue reading

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Good vibes, bad sound

A mixed bag at the Festival Hall. My review of the latest Transatlantic Sessions roadshow: In the end the joie de vivre pouring forth on the stage made up for the oddly harsh sound mix. Amplification isn’t usually a problem … Continue reading

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The Nix, the hype

My Times review of the much-lauded debut novel from Nathan Hill: Can a novel attract too much attention? That might sound like a foolish question in the age of digital distraction, when writers know they are competing with the cookbooks of … Continue reading

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The man, not the legend

Another biography of Elvis Presley, another opportunity to wonder what went wrong. And to imagine what might have happened if The King had said yes to La Streisand. From my review in The Times: Two years before his death, when … Continue reading

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Her funny Valentine

This classical diva has a sense of swing. My review of Renée Fleming at the Wigmore Hall: So, can she really sing jazz? I wasn’t entirely convinced beforehand, but long before the recital ended Renée Fleming had banished any doubts. While … Continue reading

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The best jazz albums of 2016

  My Sunday Times choices. Full details here [£]. 1 JOHN BEASLEY: Presents Monk’estra, Vol 1 (Mack Avenue) 2 CHARLIE HUNTER: Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth (GroundUp) 3 MADELEINE PEYROUX: Secular Hymns (Impulse!) 4 … Continue reading

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In concert

Three recent reviews: Norah Jones at the Palladium; Charlie Hunter at Ronnie Scott’s; Madeleine Peyroux at the Festival Hall. All the gigs took place during the London Jazz Festival, although Jones’s date wasn’t actually part of it, for reasons that remain … Continue reading

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Out of the shadows

An intriguing book that sometimes tries too hard. My Times review of David Olusoga’s “Black and British: A Forgotten History” For all the fascinating material that it unearths, Black and British is not always an easy read. In his introduction … Continue reading

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