sun 14/07/2024

New Music Reviews

Gogol Bordello, The Dome, Brighton

Thomas H Green

As New York gypsy punk live sensation Gogol Bordello tear into another Balkan rebel hoedown in front of a capacity Brighton crowd I'm reminded of an old Stones lyric, Jagger and Richards's 1971 classic "Dead Flowers": "When you're sitting there in your silk upholstered chair/ Talking to some rich folks that you know/ Well, I hope you won't see me in my ragged company/ You know I could never be alone". Gogol Bordello epitomise the rock'n'roll "ragged company", the scruffy outsiders.

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Primal Scream, Olympia

Bruce Dessau

Primal Scream's gig last night may well have been the loudest gig theartsdesk has ever attended. Three hours after returning home, my ears are still ringing like they've never rung before. At the time I didn't notice the volume though. I was enjoying the veteran band's emphatic performance too much to realise quite how many decibels were being pumped out.

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AfroCubism, Barbican

howard Male A misnamed supergroup no greater than the sum of its parts? Not last night

In theory, AfroCubism should have been one of the most exciting world-music releases of the year; how could you go wrong with a supergroup composed of Cuban and Malian musicians working towards combining their musical styles in a new and exciting manner? In fact, originally this get-together was meant to take place 14 years ago for what became the multimillion-selling Buena Vista Social Club album. But passport problems prevented the Malian musicians from being able to take...

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Sonny Rollins, Barbican

Marcus O'Dair Sonny Rollins: Octogenarian colossus

"Being asked to introduce this artist”, began the compere, “is like being asked to introduce God." Fans of Eric Clapton, of course, might beg to differ. But in jazz terms, Sonny Rollins, self-proclaimed “saxophone colossus”, has indisputably been on the all-time A-list since his early work with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. He is also on a particularly exclusive part of that list...

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Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire, BBC Four

graeme Thomson

The renaissance enjoyed by Leonard Cohen over the past few years is not only thoroughly welcome and entirely justified, but also partly a testament to the strange and powerful alchemy that sometimes occurs when the defiantly high-brow is swallowed whole by popular culture.

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Paco de Lucía, Royal Festival Hall

james Woodall Best foot forward: Paco de Lucía, Spain's musical Picasso

The sense of occasion around flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía’s return to London was palpable. The Royal Festival Hall was heaving. Queues at the bars before the show and during the interval were three or four deep. Spanish was everywhere. And that was good to hear. Paco de Lucía is a hero in his country as much for interesting political reasons as he is for purely musical ones. London-based compatriot fans were not going to miss this.

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Jon Hendricks, London Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott's

peter Quinn

Another sold-out gig, another standing ovation, another memorable night. A sprightly 89 years old, the vocal pipes may not be quite so silky, but on the first of a three-night run at Ronnie Scott's, Jon Hendricks – dubbed the “James Joyce of jive” by Time magazine - still had the chops to show why he's considered one of the most original and influential singers in jazz.

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Mavis Staples, Jazz Café

David Cheal Mavis Staples: 'I ain't tired yet'

When Mavis Staples opens her mouth, remarkable things happen. She hollers, she sobs, she moans, she swoops, she rasps, she croons, she shudders. Not since I last saw Al Green have I seen such a bravura display of vocal prowess. On a rainy night in London, the 71-year-old singer of gospel, soul and R&B was in town for a one-off gig (and also for a Jools Holland appearance) to promote her new album, You Are Not Alone.

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Jason Yarde and Andrew McCormack + Wah!, 606 Club

Marcus O'Dair Jason Yarde: Mini top hat just out of shot

It's now over 20 years since saxophonist Jason Yarde emerged, aged just 16, with pioneering London collective The Jazz Warriors. Since then he has played with big hitters like McCoy Tyner, Hugh Masekela and Roy Ayers, as well as a younger generation including Gwilym Simcock and Soweto Kinch. Yet he's more than an in-demand sideman, having also established himself as a composer and arranger in his own right through work for the LSO and BBC Concert Orchestra.

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Fela!, National Theatre

Peter Culshaw

For me there is a trinity of black musicians, visionaries who reshaped music in the last half-century: James Brown, Miles Davis and Fela Kuti. And just as it’s hard to imagine a biographical musical of James Brown or Miles Davis coming off - because which mere actor is ever going to have their charisma, attitude or moves - likewise it seemed a stretch to imagine Fela! being much more than sophisticated karaoke. Karaoke with a message and some groovy dancing, no doubt.

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