Norman Chalmers sounds out jazz
Edinburgh's August jamboree of jazﬂblues/world music is essentially in three parts; the McEwans Festival. Platform's Round Midnight series at the Queens I lall. and the Fringe. official or otherwise.
I988 sees the 1()th anniversary ofthe McEwans Edinburgh International Jazz Festival. now grown to monster proportions and expanding further from its Trad and Mainstream origins. This year there is even a concert celebrating the father of modern jazz. alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. which ties in nicely with Bird. Clint Eastwood's big-budget film homage to the man. premiered the same week in the Film Festival.
The MEIJF is also included in the Official Festival. with a Gala Concert at the Usher l lall on the 27th. featuring within a mammoth guest list. a special Tribute To Woody Ilerman.
Platform. the umbrella organisation promoting
Australia is not one ofthe places which instantly springs to mind when thriving jazz centres are the subject of conversation. but singer Kate Ceberano may well put the record straight in the course of her Festival residency at the Assembly Rooms. She comes. in the company of her Sextet. as an intriguing unknown quantity.
‘1 was in a funk dance band in Australia for a while. and they were very successful. but 1 have just recently moved into this project. in which we play jazz and bebop. with no rock or even funk inﬂuence. It‘s popular rather than purist or elitist. and it has a lot of theatre in it. btit not to the extent of being cabaret.
‘I don't know how jazz is going down over here. but it‘s very popular among young people in Australia. It's become
more of a modern music. but still within the context of the old style. There are a lot of musicians writing new music using that influence. but appropriate to today. with a nice aggressive edge.‘
Kate's interest in jazz stemmed initially from her fascination with film noir. but also owes a lot to her impatience with the kind of media-manipulated star creating that has brought. say. Kylie Minogue to prominence.
‘Well. I guess it came from being very interested in film ofthat era. particularly those 195(ls black and white movies with a real jazz feel. The music seemed appropriate for today. though. and l was sick of that easy. synthetic ‘I wanna be a star' attitude. I wanted something more street-wise. and that is also more of a challenge.
Kate and the Sextet play a mixture oforiginal materials and some
Jazz in Scotland. also stages. in association with the MEIJF. some concerts in their Round Midnight season which this year is subtitled Playing With Swing. chcr Platform concerts include the great altoist Lee Konitz. over from the States with his Quartet; the continuing evolution of saxophonist Tommy Smith. debuting for part ofthe concert on the revolutionary wind driven synthesiser. the Yamaha WX7; the Blues from West African guitarist Ali Farka Toure: big band artistry in the Shades Of Kenton orchestra: a Piano Showcase that includes Art I-lodes: classic jazz song from Carol Kidd; and the broad vocal talent and repertoire ofGeorgie Fame with the Don Weller
The Fringe has its smattering ofgood music among all the comedy and cabaret. led by the top rate New York Jazz quartet: the Grand Union Orchestra at the Queens llall; Kate Ceberano‘s Sextet at the Assembly Rooms: Tam White's new R628 'Soul band at various venues; and regular performers in the Festival Club and the Fringe Club. The Club Sandino at the Playhouse doesn't have live bands but offers listcnable. and danceable jazz. funk and salsa till 4am all through
unusual standards. with lyrics written specially for tunes like Dexter (iordon's (‘atalonian Nights. They also do — ‘or we try to' - a little Ross. Lambert and l lendricks style scatting.
‘Whatcvcr we play. we really want to give it an original flavour. and not just be translatorsor mimics of past performers. The band are a group of very talented young players. who are all well-respected amongst their peers in Australia. They are all young and aggressive. and they have lots ofattitude. The band was originally a Septet. but I prefer it beinga Sextet. I think it's probably something to do with the name . . .‘(Kenny Mathieson)
I Kate Ceberano and her Sextet [Fr] Assembly. 5-1 (ieorge Street. 226
3427 S. 12 Aug—3Sept. Midnight. £4.50 (£3.50).
JAZZ FOR FREE
In selected pubs. during the Mcliwans Jazz Festival from the 211th to the 27th. lunchtime and two evening performances are free with top International bands playing for about an hour each session. The bars are not all in the centre of town. so get along to the nearest one and get the list of bands or a copy ofthe full Jazz Festiy al programme. cost £1 . The venues are llaymarket Station Bar. 337 1006; Waterloo Bar. Waterloo place. 556 283‘); The Ilighwayman. in the St Andrew's Square Bus Station; the Sighthill Ilotel. Calder Road. 453 (11151: Dtio'Col Roadhouse. Ferry Road
West. 332 4872; Captain's Cabin. Captain's Road. 664 (i535; Cramond Brig IIotel. Cramond Brig. 339 435i): and the Beehive. (irassmarket. 225 7171.
L'Attache in the basement ofthe Rutland Hotel at Edinburgh's West End puts on regular younger. modern jazz groups. Bill Kyle'sJazz Pool on a Thursday being especially recommended.
('oppers. in Cockburn Street promises to have jazz most nights during the Festival. with a regular input from powerful and imaginative modernists. the John Rae Collective. and a late. late hcence.
The Barony Bar. in Broughton Street has started early evening jazz sessions. from 5—7.3(1pm then later in the evening with a separate band. this to carry on each week. at least on Thurs Fri Sat.
Basin Street. at llaymarket is the regular. not Mondays. trad jazz bar.
THE McEWANS JAZZ FESTIVAL
All at the Jazz Pavilion. Meadowbank Stadium. London Road.
I Birdland! Monday 22nd. 9—2am. £6. Called after the legendary New York club that was called after the driving force behind the bebop revolution that created post-war modern jazz. Charlie ‘Bird‘ Parker. With Parker‘s trumpeter from those days. Red Rodney‘. is the Pete King Quintet. King being one of Britain's leading bop altoists. The young sax player Courtney Pine is more obviously inﬂuenced by Coltrane's tenor style. but
with his quintet. is creating a new. vital energy in the British jazz
art. From Portugal comes I
the Lisbon Jazz Sextet. among the most critically acclaimed improvising bands in Europe. with a top flight front line and superb pianist. The youthful Durham Big Band are the leading band from North of England. and the concert has two remarkable guest soloists in Polish British trumpet playerJanusz Carmello. and from Barbados by way of Berklee. Arturo Tappin.
I Really The Blues Tuesday 23d. 9—2am. £6. Two from the LISA and two from the British Isles make up this welcome innovation. Recording on vocals and guitar since the 511s. continually on the move from his New Orleans roots. Louisiana Red is the archetypical bluesman. Blues harmonica virtuoso and vocalist Johnny Mars moved from South Carolina. and after early success in San Francisco. now leads a touring band based in England. The white. British. blues is well represented by the heavy duty sandpaper
Tam White. up from his new London base with a hot new band. and Manchester's Beaker Blues Band. highly respected for the outstanding lead guitarist vocalist and their grasp of the music.'l'hcy have years ofexperience backing the top US bluesmen. Far and away the Blues event of the whole Festival.
There are a law squalls belore the Festival storm hits us next week.
I From Australia comes the Kate Ceberano Sextet. a bluesy jazz vocalistwith a broad appeal and a rare talent. See teature. Assembly Rooms. Aug 12-Sept 3. Midnight
(1 .30am). £4.50 (£3.50). I The Grand Union Orchestra is a 16 piece group of world musicians. who will premiere a musico/political piece titled Freedom Calls; lyrics lrom South Atrica, Chile and Jamaica set with music lrom Tony Haynes. Then the ﬂoor is tree tor dancing to the complex rhythms otthis multi-laceted Alro/Carribean/Latin band. Sunday 14th—Tuesday 16th. 9pm, £5 (£2.50). Tickets lrorn Queens Hall Box Qttice. Clerk Street. 668 2019 and lrom the Fringe Qttice. High Street. Michael Parker and Barb Jungr won last year’s
Perrier Award with comedian Arnold Brown. This yearthe bluesy guitar. harmonica and vocal duo have a new album. a new collaborator, and a show to match. Asking For Trouble deploys comic actress Kit Hollerbach in dramatically sketched characterisations built hunt the clever. cool. wry songs all the new album Black And White. Heriot Watt Theatre. Grindlay Street. August 15-Sept 3d. 7.30—8.45pm. £4 (£3.50). I Not completelyjazz. not rock. not classical. Some Like It Hot is really swinging. stunningly well played violin. played by Eithne Hannigan. backlor the second year with Rick Rowland on guitar. Pleasance. 15 Aug—3 Sept. not Sundays or 25th Aug. 11 .45pm.
I Louis Jordan style Jump-Jive vocals. dapper swing accompaniments and lorthe Festival an expanded brass section. That Swing Thang are out on thetown tor August. Notnostalgia. but the best of those lyrical and cleverdQs‘ and 503' songs in brand new clothes. Coasters. West Tollcross. 15-181h, 20th. 22—25th. 27th. 8—9.30pm. 191h, 26th. 7-8.30pm. Gilded Balloon. Cowgate, Aug 28-Sept 3d. Midnight onwards. Plattorm One. Caledonian Hotel. West End. Aug 38-Sept3d. 8.30—11pm.
I The Festival Club has generally trad and swing jazz with the likes ot vocalist Fiona Duncan or Django inspired Swing 88. Check on the nightlor details. Chambers Street. 220 2278.10pm-1am, £2.25.
I The Fringe Club isthe venue tor the American jazz hunter and tap dancerWill Gaines. astonishing all ages with his classy tree lorm artistry. Teviot Row, 226 5138,12—17th and 19-24th. 9—10.30pm. £4 (Includes Fringe Club Membership).
I For Tickets lnlormation please see separate ticket page in the Backlist Section olthe magazine.
I Birdland! Tribute to Charlie Parker. includes Parker sideman Red Rodney. Courtney Pine and more. Jazz Pavilion. Meadowbank. Mon 22nd. 9pm.
I Lee Konitz Quartet and the John Rae Collective Great American altoist with hot young Scots. Queens Hall. Clerk Street. 668 2019. Fri19th. 10.30pm. I Really The Blues Louisiana Red. Johnny Mars Blues Band. lncurable Tam White Band. Beaker Blues Band. Jazz Pavilion, Meadowbank, Tues 23d, 9pm.
40'I'he List 12— 18 August 1988