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A sneaky peak of just some of what is in the June 2013 issue – OUT NOW!

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Ntjam Rosie

In front of me at this table outside a Kings Cross café sits a singer, a songwriter, a piano player, a guitarist, a record label boss and a photographer. No, not six different people: just the one.

Rosie Boei, originally from Cameroon, now resident in Rotterdam and known far and wide as Ntjam Rosie, is a woman of many hats and much determination to succeed. More attentive readers may perhaps have picked up on her 2010 album, Elle, a gorgeous, jazzy soul affair championed at the time by Gilles Peterson [amongst others]. It led Rosie to tours in Thailand, Turkey, Estonia and China, as well as to TV appearances at home in Holland, radio sets in London for the BBC and a much acclaimed appearance at the North Sea Jazz Festival.

This September will see the release of her third album At The Back Of Beyond, this time for her own Gentle Daze label. It marks another change in style…

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David Murray

Older jazz musicians, in many cases, are not just respected for their ability: they are valued for their knowledge of history. More often than not, they can teach junior players about how things were in society in times past. This can be interesting, according to saxophonist David Murray, who at 58 is still a relatively young man in jazz career terms.

“I have a friend, Hal Singer. He’s gonna be 94. He’s a saxophonist who’s been in Paris for many years,” the Californian – also based in the French capital – told me on a visit to London last autumn.

“What Hal was telling me was that the music, whenever there were black people present, they’d just call it ‘black music’, they didn’t call it jazz or pop, they’d just call it ‘black music’.

“I like the word ‘black’, because black is beautiful. It also defines a clear path of who you are.”

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Jason Derulo

In recent times, high profile relationships involving R&B artists have provided at least as much interest for fans as the music itself. For instance, Jay-Z and Beyonce’s choice of holiday destination apparently merited more coverage than news of Queen B’s latest single, whilst Rihanna’s Twitter beef with Chris Brown got the masses going more than the on-off pair’s studio collaborations.

Yet for Jason Derulo, provider of two top 10 albums and an artist who has experienced a rapid rise to international fame in a relatively short career, the interest and speculation surrounding his year-and-a-half relationship with fellow singer Jordin Sparks has been muted.

So what’s been the secret to two high profile artists having a functional, low-key relationship then?

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Late Friday afternoon and the road leading out of Kingston is log-jammed. Cars and trucks crawl bumper to bumper in the stifling heat, inching past a panorama of people, dogs, goats and roadside attractions – whether a lean-to shack selling bag juice, or a giant billboard condemning abortion.

Kingston too is edging forward, as a city. Its modernisation has continued apace despite the poverty, and there’s a sense of transformation in the close, sticky air – one that’s mirrored by changes in the local music scene.

Along with Chris O ‘Brien and French filmmaker Romain “Sherkhan” Chiffre, I’m on my way to see Alborosie – a fellow European who’s lived in Jamaica for over a decade and makes reggae music infused with tradition, yet that resonates with progressive thinking youngsters…

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