Jazz from Steve Lacy and Eberhard Weber (below), and eclectic dance sounds from
A Guy Called Gerald (page 30).
LISTINGS: ROCK 37 JAZZ 39 FOLK 41 CLASSICAL 42
Kenny Mathieson looks at two very different aspects of contemporary European jazz about to hit Edinburgh.
Speak to jazzman after jazzman from the United States, and you will still hear a tale that has been around almost as long as the music— quite simply, jazz is still treated with greater affection, respect, interest and remuneration in Europe than in the land which gave it birth.
When soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy
finally decided to quit New York with his Swiss wife, singer Irene Aebi, he choose to follow in the footsteps of another great soprano specialist, Sidney Bechet.
‘I first came to Europe in the mid-Sixties,‘ Lacy I
recalled, ‘and I was amazed at the attitudes. It was another world over here. I felt very welcome, and was able to work more here than I was in America. I went back to New York in 1967, via South America, and things had gotten even worse — there was no work at all, and I thought I can’t go back to working days and being an office slave again, so we left for Paris in 1968, and I only go back for visits now.
‘It’s basically a question of being able to do what you do in one place, and not being able to do it in another. I guess I could maybe go back to
New York now, but all the musicians I play with are in Paris. There are a lot ot'clubs and a lot
of musicians, and there is always a good concentration ofmusic there. It is still the jazz capital in that sense, but it is murder having to fight in that environment. Who needs it?’
Listening to his work over the years, the answer has to be, not Steve Lacy. The expatriate life has allowed him to develop as one of the most distinctive and exploratory stylists in contemporary jazz, and he has found a niche for himselfin that receptive European jazz scene. Indeed, his next release on Novus. due in early Mar, features a piece commissioned by the French government.
‘The record is called Anthem, and the main piece on it, ‘Prelude and Anthem‘, was commissioned by the French Ministry ofCuIturc to commemorate the Bicentennial ofthe Revolution. It uses a French text for two voices, based ona poem by Mandelstam about the cost of revolution, and music by nine musicians, so it has quite a rich, elaborate texture.
While Europe has always extended a welcome to musicians like Lacy, the post-bebop period has
also witnessed the growth and development of a distinctive European jazz style. In the UK, that style has enjoyed its most public profile through the ECM record label, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year, and while we remain relatively in the dark about the thriving jazz scenes in places like France and Italy, the success of musicians like Jan Garbarek and Eberhard Weber has opened ears to a new music.
Weber has already achieved a core following in Scotland through his concert appearances with Garbarek, but his solo concert at the Queen’s Hall will be his first headlining appearance here. Weber pioneered the concept ofsolo bass concerts, using his ‘electrobass’, an instrument which he designed himself.
The instrument, with its more spacious sound and enhanced range ofovertones, gave him freedom to develop new musical and technical concepts, and is a major factor in his distinctive, instantly recognisable sound. He exercised that new freedom in his highly successful Colours group, as well as with Garbarek.
Appropriately. Weber’s solo set is accompanied by an outing for the new Chick Lyall Group, featuring saxophonist Phil Bancroft. Along with Tommy Smith, Lyall is the Scottish musician who comes closest to that developing strand of European jazz, and his delayed collaboration with another Garbarek-ish saxophonist, Tore Brunborg, should soon be released by Watercourse.
With the Danish Radio Big Band also in town (see panel). you could be forgiven for concluding that Europe is coming to Edinburgh 3 little earlier than the EEC envisaged.
Eberhard Weber & The Chick L yall Group, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 23 Feb; Steve Lacy Sextet, Queen ’3 Hall, 2 Mar.
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I RARDFRED RAVERS
might be disappointed , scene.
(though not good music ‘Women are just not lovers), but the 'Wine. getting the opportunity to
Women and Song' week starting on Mon 26 at
Glasgow's Halt Bar has preciousiittle to do with unruly behaviour and scantily~clad maidens. It is, in tact. a week when local
show what they can do. The average age at the artists playing in “Wine. Women and Song" is 26. 27, but they're not known.’
Some oi the bands appearing have male
tomato ginger; musicians, but the point commandconhg mm yo wasn't to exclude them. ‘In show what they can do when 3" "'0 “i8 "N" are
they get the chance. Jim nlavlno.' “Y8 Jim. “either minim, in. mm the songwriting or the vocal muggy, “m. up mm m is iemale. We're not talking jug. mm mm; .90. about all-lemale bands.’ angered by the way talented “'0 "0'". 890030!“ by mm." “cm in b. Heineken. shows the Halt’s
in-house PA is being brought in and, tor the week oi 26 Feb—3 Mar, proper lighting is being hired. There may even be a video crew ortwo in attendance. See Listings lor details.
I THE OFFICIAL Song tor Culture 1990. Carol Laula's ‘Standing Proud’ has been
, .2 recorded in Russian under a, i. ‘ C, the title ‘Stoyim Gordo', tor a - y / release in the SovietUnion
oni May. Sayeth Lauia, ‘As it is a European cultural event, and taking into account the developments in Eastern Europe, it seemed appropriate when we were approached to translate the spirit at the song.’ It's planned to donate the proceedstrom the English-language version to ‘charitiesin the UK' and Russian version to still-undecided charities in
live music policy. already more active than the bar is generally given credit tor, making even greater bounds. Minor but permanent alterations are being made to the barto accommodate a stage. an
I ‘LDVE AND MONEY: the only group in Glasgow that you know are as drunk as you are.’ That was James Grant’s verdict on his own group when they played at the opening at Glasgow's new venue, King Tut’sWah Wah Hut on 9 February. Sounding good on a small club PA. the band played a short iniormal set, taking in their own ‘Wanderlust', a Dylan cover and a version at the country classic ‘Your Cheatin' Heart‘ which lent some ground to Grant's canny judgement of the band's sobriety. Their return lor an encore was greeted with a shout ioran impromptu Friends Again reunion, but another setby the hugely enjoyable Five Guys Named Moe would have suttlced.
I DUIET PLEASEil liyou want to take a gander ata band that aspiring metal mag ‘Raw' adjudged ‘a sure sign that British rock is alive and well', you need to bang your head about a bltto Excalibur- according to Strathkelvin District Council, who are doing their bit for youth culture by putting the band on at Kirkintilloch Town Hall on Sat 3. in a refreshing attempt to jerk the kids on the street out at their motorbikes, drugs and Satan worship and back into healthy pursuits like literature, they've announced that tickets will be on sale irom the usual outlets. plus all branches at Strathkelvin District Libraries. Could this be the start at a nationwide youth reionn programme?
The List 23 February —- 8 March 1990 29