Kenny Mathieson talks to jazzman George Russell. Plus a look at the Paris-Africa Club atTramway. and the up and coming Ruby Blue.
LISTINGS: ROCK 36 JAZZ 39 FOLK 41 CLASSICAL 42
As Composer in Residence at the Glasgow Jazz Festival, George Russell makes a ﬂying visit to Glasgow, Kenny Mathieson considers his importance in modern jazz, and looks ahead to a powerful
George Russell occupies a unique role in contemporary jazz composition. Indeed, no one else in the history of the music has concentrated so single-mindedly on composition as a jazz art. often seen as a contradiction in terms in a music so dominated by the 32-bar song form and improvisation. That fixation makes him the most fascinating choice yet in the Glasgow Jazz Festival’s Composer in Residence slot.
Russell is a highly inﬂuential theorist as well as a practising composer and musician, and his book The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation is still an inﬂuential work. in the sense that many of his ideas have passed into common currency. The book is a wide-ranging, complex, but coherent attempt to codify a system
of grading the intervals in music by the distance of
their pitch from a central note , using what Russell describes as the principle ofchord-scale unity. Jazz fans will have a chance to hear Russell talk about his work when he delivers a free lecture in Glasgow on 21 April, a prelude to his Festival appearance. which will include a commissioned composition (the Festival still awaits a genuinely
substantial work from its Composer in
Residence, and if Russell can‘t produce it. it is probably time to pack the idea in). to be performed by the George Russell Orchestra at the Theatre Royal on 6 June and a Late Night Club appearance from a George Russell
All-Stars group on 4 July.
Russell’s ideas were inﬂuential in trumpeter Miles Davis’s development of modal jazz back in the 1950s. but the Miles who makes a return to Glasgow for the first time since 1973 (at the SECC on 3 July) is more likely to namecheck Prince these days. Nonetheless, he remains the biggest name in jazz. even ifhe doesn‘t really play it anymore. and his funk-based band is one of the best in the business. I remember that 1973 visit (to the now-departed Apollo) well. and as far as I am concerned, he owes Glasgow one this time
The other major Theatre Royal headliners include Carol Kidd with an orchestra (29 June). Dizzy Gillespie (7 July) and Maynard Ferguson (5 July) with Big Bands, Chris Barber (2 July)
line-up of major names. but perhaps lacks a little in exclusivity — with the exception of Ferguson. all ofthem have played recently in Scotland.
Scottish debuts for the celebrated Kronos Quartet (sharing a bill with saxman Steve Lacy on 29 June) and the London big band Jazz Warriors (5 July). Bobby Watson with the Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra ((iJuly). and return visits for Steve Williamson. this time with Union Dance (4 July). and the Willem Breuker Kollektief (7 July). all augur well. Blues fans — and anyone who caught guitarist Kenny Neal a couple of years back — should pencil in the Kingsnake Blues Caravan on 2 Jul.
The two Tennents Lii'e.’ at The Tramway all-day programmes offer an even more enticing prospect, with Chick Lyall & Arild Andersen. French pianist Martial Solal. Henri 'l'exier. the idiosyncratic Bill Frisell and Bill Bruford‘s state ofthe art fusion outfit Earthworks on 30 June. and Jim Mullen. Tommy Smith. saxman Ian Ballamy‘s Balloon Man. Lee Konitz. and another Scottish debutant. Branford Marsalis. on I July.
Add an enhanced Late Club programme. Pinski Zoo. Pointy Birds. and a short season of Flemish New Music at the Third Eye. the excellent new 'l‘am White Band leading a strong programme at the Renfrew Ferry. and the usual jazz circuit in pubs and hotels around the city. and you have the makings of a strong. varied Festival. Jazz has been notable only by its absence from the 1990 culture extravaganza thus far. and Mayfest will not radically alter that situation. Roll on June. (Kenny Mathieson) George Russell will deli l'er a free public lecture in the Conference Suite. [.(’t'(’l 5. Mitchell Library. on 2] Apr at2pm. The 4111 Glasgow International Jazz Festival runs front 29 Jun—8 Jul. Tickets are on sale now front the Ticket Centre (04/ 227 551]); ring 04] 226 3262 to be added to free
and BB King (5 July). It is a strong enough ' mailing list. accuse him oi still suiterlng Gothenburg when they Momma" MU 1Tw. ; '0' Scott‘s" sales Ollheif horn the aher-ettectswhen decided to call itaday, . "or con merlnsr f debulalbum. ‘Popped In. he climbed on top ot the PA liying back to the States at mag, Wet Wet Wet round some“ 0"" - 300.00“ in a" stack at Darrowland and once. ‘Atter hearing "Key mamseives on (he waiving (total sales were over wowed the crowd with his Lime Pie".' quipped our and or magnum discs I 1.5 million), which ” compelling home-grown researcher, “I’m not earlienms month, But this : apparently means that
brand at rock star heroism. surprised.’ "me me awards, presented 1 around one Scottish
I FOLLOWING Ott hom leans retailer, is In tacttha He did bring out the I PLANS FOR THE 1990 by the Scottish Record household in seven has a
what one happy revelier latest mum-studio and Katydids tor encores oi ‘lt’s Motherwell Music Festival Industry Association, were i copy. Frightening!
described as ‘another rehearsal complex to open All Over Now' and ‘A Hard are already underway,
drunken boozelest' - a party in the city (Osborne Street, Day’s thht', so maybe we although the Festival itseli
in the Rock Garden to mark to be precise), and can can torgive him a little will not take place until
the release ot Summerhill’s produce 16-traclr excess. October. The organisers are
malor label debut- the St LP-standard masters. I HOW CAN WE FORGIVE looking tor bands to take
Clair Trading Co opened its ‘Appen it will be mainly Camper Van Beethoven, part in various events.
doors tor business. and bands with deals oi various however, who split up on Local talents have provided
persuaded the leading kinds that will be using the Wed 10, the very night that support tor Deacon Dlue,
lights of the Glasgow music place, and they were out in one at our highly-trained The Proclaimers, The Big
scene to open theirthroats iorce, grooving to Glasgow team was listening through Dish and The River
and pour down copious hopetuls The Outriders their entire back catalogue Detectives in the past.
quantities of the electric belore being gently sent on tor the purposes ol writing a Details. photo and demo
soup to celebrate the their way. Various Del witty, incisive and tapes to The Arts and
occasion. The Trading Co, Amitris were there, but not intonnalive article about Entertainments Ottice. PO
although it may sound like a Justin Currie. so we can't them? The Campers were in 80x14, Civic Centre, |
The List 20 April — 3 May 1990 29