The Bays with The Heritage Orchestra - 25/11/08 RFH, LJF

Entering the auditorium of the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday, it appeared as though some sort of spaceship had crash-landed on stage. Glowing plasma screens stood dotted amidst trailing wires and banks of mixers, whilst a Perspex screen guarded a dormant drum kit. An analogy with a scene from science fiction is appropriate given the scope of this ambitious collaboration, which saw the improvisational four-piece The Bays join forces with Jules Buckley's Heritage Orchestra.

Chick Corea/John McLaughlin Five Peace Band - 23/11/08 RFH, LJF

John McLaughlin and Chick Corea sauntered on stage with the laid-back nonchalance which comes with knowing that even if they just waved at the adoring crowd and went home, their place in the pantheon of jazz megastars would still be secure. Fortunately, we got somewhat more than that.

Andy Sheppard Melody Gainsbourg Band – 23/11/08 Purcell Room, LJF

Serge Gainsbourg: poet, musician and iconoclast. Andy Sheppard’s latest project, Melody Gainsbourg uses material by this icon of French counter-culture. It will not be to everyone’s taste but it certainly provided compelling entertainment.

Sibongile Khumalo/Jack DeJohnette's 'Intercontinental' 21/11/08 QEH, LJF

The surfacing of stellar talent Sibongile Khumalo by drumming legend Jack DeJohnette is something to be grateful for. Tonight's concert provided an opportunity to air their 'Intercontinental' project, the result of a collaboration founded during a residency at Aldeburgh in Suffolk, an unlikely setting for the development of some unlikely music.

Ben Allison's 'Man Size Safe' Quintet - 20/11/08 Pizza Express Soho LJF

An intriguing band name for starters. "Apparently Dick Cheney has a man size safe in his office, something I find both comical and scary" bandleader and double bass player Ben Allison informed us. 'Man Size Safe' is Allison's folk americana outlet, with tonight's set featuring most of the tracks from their new album, 'Little Things Run The World'. Totally engaging the tunes are too, capturing the audience's attention within seconds of the first track's slouchy groove shuffling itself into the air space. It was heartening to see guitarist Steve Cardinas embracing unextended open string chords, all too often dismissed as 'cowboy chords' by some jazz guitar players. The harmonic progressions were deceptively sophisticated, leading us down well trodden folk and country music paths before yanking us sideways, and prodding us with angular stabs.

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