Music

Retro Swagger

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Review of 'You Could Have It So Much Better' by Franz Ferdinand

It used to be quite fashionable for bands to take an 'eclectic' approach to music - here's our punk song, this is an acoustic number, we wrote this one listening to Pink Floyd, etc. It was part of the post-grunge/post-Britpop slump. Albums were more about artists' record collections than the artists themselves.

The current crop of bands seem to have a much healthier attitude, being outward looking and musically passionate. Franz Ferdinand are one of the most successful of the new crop.

He is Something Else!

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Ornette Coleman celebrated his 75th birthday by playing a series of concerts in England recently. Peter Segal looks at his life and work.

'This was the missing link between playing totally free, without any givens, and playing bebop, with steady changes and steady times. Ornette struck fear into the heart of the average world-famous jazzman, because nothing would be the same again' - Paul Bley, jazz pianist.

Globe Surfing

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Review of 'Philtre' by Nitin Sawhney

When Nitin Sawhney released his debut album Spirit Dance in 1993 'Asian underground' was, well, underground. Much of Britain's music press was about to be overrun with a bout of 'retro-obsession'. 'Indie-pop' and 'cool Britannia' were dawning and Sawhney's boundary-defying tunes didn't really fit the NME's remit. Asian and 'cool' didn't really go together back then.

Times Square It is a-Changing

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Review of 'Where the Humans Eat' by Willy Mason

My 17 year old daughter said to me one day a few weeks ago, 'Listen to this Mum, I think you'll like it'. So I listened to this song through one ear phone of her pink mini ipod (she insisted on this description!) while she listened to the other one. She was right, I was listening to a young voice singing contemporary poetry of protest, and it was fresh original and challenging. The song was 'Oxygen' by Willy Mason.

'We can be stronger than bombs if you're singing along and you know you really believe...'

An Intoxicating Soul Man

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Review of 'Get Lifted Live' by John Legend

You probably know more about John Legend than you think. Check the notes of many of the biggest soul and R&B albums of the past decade, and there's his name. As pianist and vocalist on Lauren Hill's 1998 track 'Everything is Everything', vocalist and co-writer on Alicia Key's multi-platinum 'You Don't Know my Name', co-writer, pianist and vocalist on Talib Kweli's prolific The Beautiful Struggle and vocalist, pianist and co-writer on the Kanye West's smash hit of last year, College Dropout.

Music Will Free Itself

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Review of Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble, Touring

Gilad Atzmon is arguably the most outstanding artist to emerge on the British jazz scene in recent years. He can hardly be described as new, having recorded nine albums in the past decade, as well as performing with musicians as diverse as Ian Dury, Paul McCartney, Sinead O'Connor and perhaps most bizarrely, Robbie Williams. It is in recent years however that his star has shone most brightly - firstly with the release of the 2003 BBC Jazz Album of the Year Exile, followed last year by the widely acclaimed Musik.

Mesmerising Beats

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Review of 'Peace Not War volume 2', Various artists

Peace Not War volume 1 generated over £50,000 for anti-war and peace groups across the world.

Hopefully Peace Not War volume 2 will raise this and more. Yet it seems to me that this compilation, which targets the youth market specifically, has a greater potential.

Music of the Year

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The best CDs of the last twelve months.

Extraordinary Mix

Acoustic jazz undertones, languid sensual vocals, African beats, clapping hands and the Moscow Orchestra - not what you'd usually expect of a hip-hop album. But MC Solaar's latest, Mach 6, is no ordinary album.

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