Cleo Laine and John Dankworth - Double Top

Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth both turned 80 recently, a milestone for the couple who for many years have personified British jazz internationally, receiving acclaim and honours frequently along the way. Still active on the scene they look back on a remarkable career with Stuart Nicholson, to the days when bebop was a new music heard at first hand by Dankworth in New York and to the days when he shared a stage with Charlie Parker and toured with Duke Ellington.

Robert Wyatt - Human Nature

Robert Wyatt has a unique perspective on jazz. As a lover of the music and a frequent collaborator with some of today’s most interesting performers, Wyatt also represents a quintessentially English tradition of radical dissent both in his songs and in his politics. Formerly a rock drummer with Soft Machine, a band which has remained uniquely influential on subsequent generations of jazz and rock fans alike, he now pursues a distinctive second life as a singer and songwriter, rarely performing but steadily creating a string of critically acclaimed albums. The latest, Comicopera, has just been released. Duncan Heining travels to Robert’s home in Lincolnshire for this special interview and also talks to musicians from Robert’s new album, Annie Whitehead and Gilad Atzmon.

Liane Carroll - In Praise Of Slow

Recorded in just four hours, Liane Carroll’s new album, ironically titled Slow Down, underlines just what the singer/pianist has achieved over a career that saw her begin singing as a teenager. Something of a “best kept secret” for much of her career it’s only in the last few years, as Peter Quinn explains, that Liane has got the recognition that she deserves.

Dave Stapleton - Place Your Bets

Pianist Dave Stapleton is a driving force on the new Welsh scene, encouraging local activities not only by his own efforts as a pianist and band leader but also by acting as a record label boss, putting out his own music and recordings by musicians of the order of Keith Tippett. On the eve of the release of his latest quintet The House Always Wins Dave talks to Stuart Nicholson.

Polar Bear - Kicking The Senses

Polar Bear has been in the vanguard of the new wave of UK jazz groups to emerge over the past five years. Led by drummer Seb Rochford, the band appeals to both jazz and rock audiences but became known to a still wider audience when its second album Held On The Tips Of Fingers was Mercury nominated. Switching labels, from Babel Records to V2, for its latest album, as yet untitled, Andy Robson catches up with the band members on the eve of the album’s launch.

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