I Battleﬁeld Band: Home Ground (Temple TP034) This new live album was recorded at the Aberdeen Arts Centre in the Spring. The CD has two (previously recorded) songs and a pipe set more than the LP. The Battie‘s playing is excellent and spirited throughout. especially consideringthat they were at the end ofa Scottish tour. The live recording is very good quality. with a nice sense of real space. A varied selection from the band's live set. with lots ofﬂashy bits and jinky changesof gear. ends with the over-the-top nine-minute ccilidh rock epic. ‘Band of a Thousand Chanccs'. The band seem to be integrating the Scottish and pop elements oftheir music much more successfully these days. The audience loved it. (Jack Martin)
0 I Laurie Anderson: Strange Angels (WEA) Laurie continues the drift away from the ethereal. minimalist style of Big Science and United States in her most pop- oricntated release to date. Augmented by a large. shifting cast which includes Arto Lindsay. Blue Gene Tyranny. and Bobby McFerrin among many others. Anderson serves up her usual idiosyncratic vocal style and off-centre lyrics (‘Well. I stopped in at the bodyshop Said tothe guy I want stereo FM installed in my teeth') against a bright. punchy backdrop which recalls Talking Heads in its synthesis of rock. soul. gospel and ethnic influences. This is about as conventional as she is likely to get. but remains imbued with a redeeming ﬂavourofherodd. alienated perspective on the foibles of modern life. (KM)
I Sun Ra: OutThereA Minute (Blast First); Blue Delight (AGM) Two albums tracing the development ofSaturn‘s best known jazz maestro. Blast First have achieved something of a coup with Sun Ra's personal selection of rare Arkestra tracks from the late Sixties. Often recorded in a front room and sold only at gigs. they reveal an innovative combination ofelectronic keyboards. marimbas and
sparse rhythms to give a spacey feel indicative of the mystic titles. Equally essential is the new A&M effort. which reflects the band‘s move in recent years into more conventional big band territory. with crisp arrangementsaugmentei by Ra's effortless repertoire of jazz piano styles in a session with undoubted echoesof Ellington. Buy them both. (U)
I Keith Jarrett: Changeless (ECM); Don Pullen: New Beginnings (Blue Note) The prolificJarrett in piano trio format. with the Peacock, De Johnette rhythm section that performs on his standards outings seeming a little at a loss. Keith is back in his Seventies vamping mode and his accomplices seem merelyto box him in. preventing the kind of skittcring lyrical outburst that brought a touch of inspiration to his best sol! work. No such problems with the Pullen session which is nothing less thar a revelation. The leader manages to put the percussive keyboard attack of a Cecil Taylor It the service ofan intenscl) rhythmic overall conception and the result blends both visceral excitement and an impressive sense of control. (TJ)
I Miles Davis: Aura (CBS) A double album set recorded in 1985. Aura is trumpeter Paiie Mikkelborg‘s tribute to Miles. CBS have taken their time in releasing it (it was widely rumoured that their initial failure to do so precipitated his move to WEA two years ago). but the wait has been worthwhile. Mikkelborg‘s lengthy composition, moving through sections named after colours (an allusion to the tonal language of both painting. another of Miles‘ diversions. and music). not only reﬂects aspects of Davis‘s own music. notably in its emphasis on shiftingtextures and its use of scales. but addsa distinctly European. almost serial ﬂavour ofhis own. Players include John McLaughlin and Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen. with Miles on lead trumpet. Essential Miles. (KM)
I Gladys Knight and The Pips: The Singles Album (Polygram TV) They've not all worn well — nor. despite what Polygram may assure us. were they always that brilliant in the first place. Too often Gladys would go for MOR schmaltz when the times favoured hip militancy. Part of the album's enjoyment comes from the group's somewhat detached growth from the
heydays of soul to the start ofthe disco era. They were always the odd ones out at Motown. and (with hindsight?) this comes across in the music. However. ‘Just Walk in My Shoes‘ capturesthat joyful Motown sassiness and ‘The Look of Love' and ‘Neither One ofL’s‘ are up there with the best of the company’s 70s output. But no ‘Grapcvine‘? Shame on you. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Cutting Crew: The Scattering (Siren) If it was CC‘s intention to avoid rewriting the dreadful ‘I Just Died in Your Arms‘ twelve times over. they‘ve succeeded. In fact. The Scattering starts off as one of the most approachable anthemic rock LPs I‘ve heard for a while; the indecision as to whether they want to be pompous and worthy or out-and-out pop sets up enough ofa tension to make most of side one fairly enjoyable. Doubts arise with 'Handcuffs for Houdini‘. which is Simple Minds at their very worst. and the rot sets in once it becomes abundantly clear that CC‘s prime objective in life is to fill the gaps between Casey Kasem's jabbing finger on the American Top Forty show. Richard Marx aside. never was an act so eminently suited to the task. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy: Serious Fun (DlW) The frustration ofseeing many of the most exciting and adventurous American jazzan sign up to the enterprising but previously unavailable Japanese DIW label has been eased by their recent distribution deal over here. albeit at a stiffprice. This release findsthe Brass Fantasy in fine form right from the rasping opening chorus ofJamcs Brown’s Papa's Cora Brand New Bag, complete with vocal and searing trombone solo from Frank Lacy. a man to watch on the world jazz scene. Serious fun is an apt description of Bowie‘s seriously parodic re-casting ofpop. jazz and funk originals in his own inimitable style, Donald Duck-trumpet calls and all. Recommended. (KM)
It you missed All About Eve’s recent tour (and we don’t blame you), you'll have another chance to catch Summerhill, who have moved from that support slot straight on to Green on Red’s tour. Only singer and guitarist Seori Burnett and guitarist Neil Scott remain from the final days of The Snakes of Shake, a Glasgow-based band some may remember from 1986 gigs and an album released on the Making Waves label, which went bust shortly atterwards(l).
Deciding that this would be the final piece of bad luck that had dogged the group, they disbanded. and Summerhlll arose from the ashes, first with a single on the small Scottish Rocket 5 label (also home of The Hucksters), a mini-album on Demon and now anothersingle, ‘Here I Am', which was released by Polydor on 6 November.
The band's chiming guitar-based sound and clearAmerican bias have led to the inevitable REM comparisons, but Seori reckons these have faded.
‘We managed to do enough in London that people appreciated that there's quite a difference in what we do, though there are similarities— probably because I really like REM, though I wouldn’t want to go out and be like them. I used to like T-Rex, so there’s probably bits of T-Rex on the record.‘
The furthest north Summerhlll (and, yes. they did take their name from A.S. Nelll's revolutionary ‘free’ school) have glgged solar is Manchester, and
Seori is concerned that they develop a high profile in and around his hometown.
‘l'd like a following up there, ltwould be nice. It sounds corny, but I’m looking forward to playing back home, and l’d like to have a following in Scotland because it's a loyal following you get up there, and people are really into music just for what It is.
Summerhlll support Green On Red at Calton Studios, Edinburgh on Fri 24 and Strathclyde University on Sat 25.
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I GLASGOW CITY HALL (041 227 5511) SNO/Thomson/ Rachmaninov, 25 Nov; SNO/‘l’homson/Dvorak. 30 Nov. 2 Dec; SNO/Nelson/ Brahms. 9 Dec; 800/ Bolton/Messiah, 15 Dec; SNO/Bamert/Brahms, 16 Dec; SNO/Carol Concert,
21 ,23 Dec.
I GLASGOW RSAMD (041 332 5057) Paragon Ensemble. 26—27 Nov; Scottish Early Music Consort, 9 Dec; John Currie Singers/Haydn.10 Dec; Leon Spierer/Jack Kearney, 25 Jan; Elly Ameling/ Rudolph Jansen, 15 Feb; SEMC. 15 Feb; John Currie Singers/Weill, 26 Feb; Ralph Kirshbaum/Roger Vlgnoles, 15 March; John Currie Slngers/Charpenller, 2ApHL
I GLASGOW SECC (041 240 3000) Luciano Pavarotti, 16 May.
I GLASGOW THEATRE ROYAL (041 332 9000) Scottish Opera/ The Merry Widow. 6, 9 Dec;The Marriage of Figaro. 5, 7 Dec; Die Fledermaus, 29. 31 Dec. 3, 4. 6Jan, 21 , 24 Feb; Bluebeard‘s Castle/Oedipus Rex. 24. 27 Jan, 14 Feb, 1 March; La Forza delDestlno,13.17, 20, 22 Feb, 3 March; Salome. 25. 28 April.11, 24, 29 May; Cosl tanlutte 10, 12, 17. 30 May; Madame Butterfly. 23, 26, 31 May, 2. 5June.
I GLASGOW TRAMWAY (041 227 5511)Scottlsh Early Music Consort. 22/23 May. I PAISLEY ABBEY (041 227 5511)John Currie Singers/Messiah, 26 Nov. I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (031 668 2019) Michael Chance a Keith Lewis. 27 Nov; SCOfTuckwell/ Mendelssohn, 2 Dec; Scottish Early Music Consort, 7 Dec; Scottish Ensemble. 10 Dec; Dick Lee's ChamberJazz, 11 Dec; Gustav Fenyo/Beethoven Sonatas, 9 Jan. 6 Feb, 6, 27 March, 1, 22 May. 19 June; Scottish Ensemble, 14 Jan; Duke Quartet, 5 Feb; Almeida Ensemble. 7 Feb; Scottish Ensemble, 11 Feb; SEMC. 15 Feb; Nanquidno Group, 12 March; Scottish Ensemble. 18 March; Alfred Brendel, 19 March; SEMC. 31 March; Scottish Ensemble. 8 April; Steven lsserlis/Peter Evans. 8 May; Scottish Ensemble/Tommy Smith, 13 May.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (031 225 5756) SNO/Thomson/ Rachmaninov, 24 Nov; SNO/Thomson/Dvorak. 1 Dec; SNO/Nalson/Brahms,6 Dec; SCO/Bolton/Masslah, 14 Dec; SNO/Bamart/ Brahms, 15 Dec; SNO/Carol Concert, 22 Dec.
The List 10 - 23 November 1989 33