’l‘ve been playing with folk musicians since the mid-Seventies. when I lived in Argyll. Before that. when I was at University. I played rock music and wore ﬂowers in my hair!‘
As you can hear. reedsman Dick Lee has an eclectic musical spirit. Outside ofSwing ‘90. his Django-inspired Hot Club Quartet. and his highly structured and award-winning Chamberlazz band. he frequently teams up with piper Hamish Moore. whose support of the bellows-blown Lowland or Border bagpipes and smallpipes partly saved them from extinction in the Seventies.
Hamish and Dick have just finished recording an album together which. on one side sets various bagpipes in all sorts ofconjunctions with clarinet. sax. recorder and a startling Glasgow tabla player. and. on the other displays the instruments in the three band settings used by Hamish and Dick when they play together.
’The Hamish Moore Band adds drums. bass. keyboards and percussion. Flora MacNeill and her daughter Maggie Mclnnes singing a waulking song. while the last piece by the Chamber Jazz group is actually the third movement ofthe Bagpipe Concerto I‘ve written and which we will perform during April’s Edinburgh Folk Festival. I‘ve been writing music on an Atari computer. with a composer programme. mousing the dots in. and using a Roland module to imitate the sounds ofthe actual instruments. listening to the textures. We are going to use it on stage too. During the second movement the pipes improvise over the electronics and tenor player Phil Bancroft is let loose.‘
Hamish has also completed an album with Lowland piper Nigel Richard. whose work with the Edinburgh group Nobodys Business anticipated a lot of the modern trends in the folk/roots world. and who has spent considerable time developingachromatic keyed chanter. ‘lt's going to widen the horizons of pipe music amazingly.‘ says l lamish. ’And.‘ he chuckles. ‘l'll be ready to write the material for it!‘
Dick I.eeum1llumish .lloorep/uy a! the Edinburgh I'D/k (Yul). Osbourne Hotel, on Wed [4. (Norman
( 'halmers )
It the smooth pop-crossover ol alto saxophonist Peter King’s Blanco y Negro release ‘Crusade’, produced by Ben Watt ol Everything But The Girl lame, came as a surprise to those who had long since settled lorliling him away as Britain's leading exponent ol bebop, it was a deliberate enough strategy on King‘s part. The project, though, was sparked oil by Watt, who convinced parent label WEA that they should record the saxman: It seems an unlikely alliance on the lace at it, but the roots go back a long way.
‘I used to know his lather, the band-leader Tommy Watt,’ Pete explains. ‘Tommy took Ben to see me at the Bull’s Head in Barnes when he was about nine, and he’s been a tan
ever since. I have done a little bit at playing on each at his albums, and he suggested trying to do something with me in this crossover style lorthe label. I haven’t really been a pure bebop playerlor lilteen years, although my music is obviously rooted in that style, and this was just a dillerent kind at music that we wanted to do, with the idea at presenting me to a wider audience.‘
The music, while impeccably played, lacked the lire and grace at his work in more overtly jazz registers, but that should not be a complaint levelled alter his Edinburgh visit with his own Quintet, which leatures Henry Lowther on trumpet, John Horler on piano, Dave Green on bass, and drummer Mark Taylor. King’s lluent, inventive playing is strongerthan everthese days, but he is more usually heard in lront at local rhythm sections when perlorming in Scotland, and this opportunity to work with his chosen collaborators is a welcome one tor both players and audience.
‘Ol course, I would always preler to work with my own band, but the economics at the thing make it hard lor us to get enough regularwork. My problem in the past is thatl never wanted to be a band-leader, sol ended up as the perpetual sideman tor a long time, butl have learned that the only way to advance yoursell is to have your name on the record-covers. It’s a lact at tile which I don’t particularly like, but it is something I have had to come to terms with. I think that’s just growing up, really.’ (Joe Alexander)
The Peter King Quintet play The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Fri 16.
Scarred for life
Lush have just about recovered lrom their well-documented trip to France for the opening at Vaughan Oliver’s exhibition in Nantes. The band played, alter a horrendous trip involving hurricane lorce winds and a lengthy sea crossing, to their lirst French audience on the opening night at 4AD’s artist in residence’s retrospective collection at label artwork. Back on terra lirma they have just released Mad Love - a tour-track EP leaturing three new songs (‘De-Luxe', ‘Downer’ and ‘Leaves Me Cold') and a re-recording ol ‘Thoughtlorms‘ lrom their debut mini-LP, ‘Scar’.
The lorthcoming dates will be the lirst opportunity lor Scottish audiences to sample the lour-piece's sound live, and a chance to decide whether or not the music press hyperbole is justilied. Bassist, Steve, who along with
drummer, Chris, and vocalists/guitarists Miki and Emma make up Lush, sees the live sound as being considerably rougher than on record. In the studio there is time tor songs to be pertected, so much so in lact that he doesn’t see why daytime radio is out at the question: ‘I think we’ve more chance than many at the bands we‘re compared to and I think we’re tar more commercial than them.’
One thing that shouldn't hinder this is the presence at The Cocteau Twin's Robin Guthrie, who takes the production credits on the EP. How did Chris take to the apparently ‘dillicult’ Scot then? ‘He’s really nice. We were a bit apprehensive because at his reputation. We thought it would be dlllicult lor him to deal with amateurs but he was great.’
But, as Chris points out, it seems unlikely that the band will be requiring his services again in the near luture: ‘Al the moment we’ve recorded all the Lush songs that are around. Everyone asks when we will be releasing the album but we’ve no more songs.‘ (James Haliburton)
Lush play the Edinburgh Venue on Fri 9 and Glasgow College on Sat 10.
Edinburgh's New Town (‘oncert Society. one of the better purveyors of chamber music in the city. brings its short season to a close in style with a recital by the celebrated Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel. Playing the great Viennese masters of his geographical home territory. as well as his home ground musically. Brendel’s appearance is a coup for the Society. llis choice of Haydn. Brahms. Weber and Beethoven is sure to be a popularone. especially as the Brahms is the Opus 10 Four Ballades and the Beethoven is the Appassionata Sonata. Brendel. who in his late teens was torn between music and a keen interest in literature and painting. has played with all the leading orchestras of the world and has toured just about everywhere imaginable. as well as appearing at all the major festivals. Perhaps most notable are his cycles of Beethoven and Schubert piano sonatas. the Beethoven being one of his most distinguished early recordings. When he's not performing. Brendel is a talented and knowledgeable writer and a collection of his articles and essays on composers and musical subjects has been published under the title ‘Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts‘.
A lfred Brendel. Mon I 9 Mar (1! 7. 45pm. Queen 's Hull, Iidinburgh. See
( ~[musical listings.
I Janusz Carmello: Portrait (HEP CD) Polish expatriate Janusz ('armello makes
his recording debut for Alastair Robertson‘s lllil’ label. If it is a little rough here and there. it captures the rich. warm tone which he coaxes from the normally more astringent pocket trumpet. He is capany supported by a groiipolScoltish musicians. with pianist Brian Kellock predictably outstanding. (‘armello rings the changes on familiar material ( "l‘he Saints(io Marching ln' becomes a slow -iin blues. ‘l.o\ erman' a wall/). and contributes a couple of originals to a strong. entertaining set.
30 The List 9 — 32 March l‘)‘)l)