I Ava-8: Big Car(Cherry Red) Elementary pop riffs
and twinned female vocals
are the stock in trade of Edinburgh's Avo-8. I‘m not saying they blew The
Darling Buds offstage. but
they at least gave them a run for their money. And though I don't think thisis
Avo-8 at their best. either.
it's a good tuneful three-minute blast. (AM) I Lenny Kravitz: Let Love Rule (Virgin America) Never mind Tears For Fears. this is the Beatles pastiche of the year. all chummy bass. Lennonesque rhythm and a section which is unashamedly ‘I Iey Jude' revisited. So damned accurate as to obscure entirely any worth it might have. (AM)
IThe Shamen: Omega Amiga/Fini Tribe: Animal Farm/Kitchens of Distinction (One Little Indian) Despite the ultimate let-down ofthe In Gorbachev We Trust LP. The Shamen are slowly building up a catalogue ofsome pretty good tunes. Happily. this dreamin-paced ode to blissed-out good vibes is one of them. The other new Scottish signings to the label. Fini Tribe. convert no one to vegetarianism with their anti-MacDonaIds cut-up montage. though the advertising campaign might fare better. Kitchensof Distinction once again give rise to the same questions: why hasn’t everyone heard about them. how much more echo can the guitarist stack up and how long can the vocalist sound so frank in every song without burning himselfout'.’ (AM)
I Inner City: Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin' (10) Inner City slow it right down and unveil their winter wear. a cover ofthe Stephanie Mills single. Not in the league of ‘Good Life‘ (what could be'?). but not bad. (AM)
I Bad Dream Party Dress: Flair(el) Jaunty ska number. Very nice. but. as with most of el'soutput. the nagging feelingthat someone‘s pulling the strings. Not that there's anything wrong with that as far as great pop goes. but the manipulative aura hanging around el is so bloody distracting. (AM)
ROCK 34 JAZZ 36 FOLK 38 CLASSICAL 39
30 The List 10 — 23 November 1989
Kenny Mathieson hears about a bold new departure from saxophonist Andy Sheppard.
Andy Sheppard is no stranger to Scottish stages. but his latest Edinburgh concert marks a new chapter in the story. Just over a year ago. when the saxophonist was recording his highly successful Introductions in the Dark album with an expanded nine-piece group. he told me that he wanted his next project to be a genuine improvising big band. That has now come to fruition. but it was not without its problems.
‘WeIl. for one thing. I have been so
busy. touring with the Sextet. and with George Russell. and writing bits and pieces for films.‘ Andy explained. ‘I have been working on new material for the big band over the last year or so. but this is easily the biggest in-depth thing I have ever done. in terms ofcomposition and arrangements. It has been a lot of work. although maybe it would have been quicker for someone with more experience of arranging. It is a good idea. but putting it all together has been harder than I expected.
‘The biggest difference from my point ofview has been in the amount of orchestration necessary for a band this size, which has meant I have had to write all the music down. instead ofjust writing the head and the chord changes. With a fifteen piece band. complex music and a lot of sight-reading. it was essential to score the whole thing. Fortunately. Dave (pianist Dave Buxted) is doing all the copying of the parts — that would really drive me crazy.‘
Sheppard‘s high-octane Sextet already achieves a formidable textural density. but the big band will allow him to explore those rich textural possibilities in his music in even more adventurous fashion. In
addition to the regular members of his band. the group will feature the brilliant Dutch improvisers Ilan Bennick and Ernst Reijseger. American trombonist Gary Valente (who can be heard with Andy and producer Steve Swallow on the new Carla Bley album Fleur Carnivore). and a number of notable London names. including saxrnan Chris Biscoe and trumpeter Claude Deppa.
‘There is a lot going on in the music.‘ the saxophonist continued. ‘and I guess I will have picked up a few things from working with George Russell and Carla Bley. The music is quite complex. and easily the most intense composing I have done. but it will leave a lot ofspace for the soloists. and for the music to expand in unexpected ways. especially for the live shows.
The Edinburgh concert is the last of four planned for the week. during which the album will be recorded. and should benefit from that placing. The band will perform four new tunes (a fifth. Car/a. has featured in the Sextet's repertoire recently). all ofwhich will receive their public debut in the course ofthe week. the polar opposite of the well-digested