‘I believe there’s an idealistic moral
meaning to art, otherwise I certainly would not do it. The real Socialist, humanitarian values of society which are being trampled on by Thatcher are still there, and there‘s a huge tradition in this country. of Blake and Shelley and all the other radical dissenters.’
Composer Steve Martland defines his music with words like ‘idealistic’ and ‘affirmative‘. but the classical music establishment. he gathers. consider it ‘vulgar and crude’. He is probably better known on rock‘s avant-garde fringes. and it hardly needs to be added that he is accorded much greater respect abroad.
‘Because I don‘t get played by the classical musical ensembles or orchestras in this country, strangely enough. my music isn‘t exposed to those audiences.‘ It doesn‘t seem to worry him; he has few complimentary things to say about ‘the guardians of a 19th Century tradition‘.
Martland no longer uses orchestras. preferring to work with and compose for musicians from other backgrounds: Dutch ‘street orchestra‘ de Volharding. Loose Tubes. Test Dept and singer Sarah Jane Morris, who will feature prominently in the Glasgow shows. Reflecting his enthusiasm for film and television as a medium. two pieces are to be presented on a large screen. The project that brought Martland the most attention before the release of his Factory LP 266. was Albion. a BBC2 film with music which homed in on the fallacies of Thatcher‘s Britain. in particular the fictitious image of Victorian England that has been peddled as a social model. He is currently working on projects for the BBC and C4.
His assessment of the group playing Mayfest is that they have ‘the sonority of big band jazz‘. an apt environment for the ‘theatre song‘ cycle ‘Glad Day‘. sung by Sarah Jane Morris. As odd as it sounds. The Pet Shop Boys have shown interest in producing it for possible release as a single. (Alastair Mabbott)
Steve Martland and Sarah Jane Morris. Third Eye Centre. Sat 19—Sun 20.
It is one of the ironies of the British jazz scene that saxophonist Bonnie Scott is likely to be best remembered — rather than as one of the best tenor men of his generation — as the man who took a chance in opening a pokey club in London's Gerrard Street, and turned it, via a change of residence, into one of the most celebrated jazz clubs in the 1 world.
Born in London’s East End in 1927, Scott took up the musician's life as a E teenager, and played around in the j thriving late 40s big band scene. Atrlp
x l to New York hooked him on the new
music emerging there, although he was to throw his stylistic emphasis behind the example of Stan Getz and l Zoot Sims rather than the beboppers. ! Scott co-Ied the celebrated Jazz Couriers with the late Tubby Hayes in the late 1950s, before opening his first club in 1959. Ronnie Scott's was established in its - present Frith Street premises in 1965, i and has played host to a high
proportion of the great names in jazz. In
. recent years, the genuine jazz fans
! have had to share the hallowed space
with late-night business drinkers and
i tourists eager to say they have been there (undeterred by the stiff prices), but not so interested in the music, despite the patron’s regular demands forsnence.
Scott the musician, meanwhile,
celebrates 30 years of the club with a three-night residence at the Benfrew
Ferry. No longerthe player he once was, perhaps, Bonnie is still capable of. some beautiful music. Beware, though, the dreaded jokes which every club regular can recite by heart. Don't say you weren’t warned. (Kenny Mathieson)
The Bonnie Scott Quartet play the Renfrew Ferry from Thurs 24—Sat 26.
j Good reception
A In case you think lvo Papasov’s Wedding Band is a Balkan Jimmy Shand outfit, you should know that the group has performed in the London jazz sanctum of Ronnie Scott’s, and clarinetist lvo admits that some of his favourite musicians are Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker. And though the group regularly plays weddings, sometimes for eight-hour stretches, in Bulgaria they are something of a national institution, and have a huge following.
‘At home we play concerts to four or five thousand people, and stadium concerts to 40,000,’ lvo points out. ‘We recently played the biggest one we’ve ever done, to 120,000. Quite often for
: these big concerts we don't get paid : anything - but then we are well paid by
Traditional tunes and forms, with their complex showers of notes in f awkward compound rhythms, are used ‘ as a basis for the band's own compositions, or for extended improvisations.
The energy. speed, accuracy and sheer exhilaration of the band are breathtaking. Papasov’s boyhood friend Neshev plays accordion with astonishing fluency and attack over powerhouse drumming, bass, keyboards and sax. The singer with the - group is Papasov’s wife Maria.
Music from Eastern Europe, especially women’s harmony singing from Bulgaria, has been in vogue here for a few years now, but Marla also sings lvo's own compositions, with sophisticated phrasing and a pronounced vibrato.
An atmosphere of danger hangs around Papasov on stage, a sense of . elemental energy that his early training threatened to quench. ‘I learned classical music from the age of nine. 9 My teacher is now a professor at La } Scala, Milan. But everyone played the 1 same, the same notes. So I started playing folk music. There's no freedom in classical music. In my music there‘s ' much more freedom.’ lvo Pasov and the Bulgarian Wedding Band play the Benfrew Ferry, on Tues ] 22 and Wed 23. l
RETURN OF RED OCTOBER
Despite the lip service accorded to it. few are really interested in hearing Russian rock. Even with the involvement of Eurythmic Dave Stewart. Soviet superstar Boris Grebeshnikov received little attention when he was launched on the British public a few months ago. Perhapsthe stereotype of the bald. bearded and serious muso whose only connection with Western rock is a few Emerson. Lake and Palmer records has taken hold ofthe popular imagination. But Avia confound that. offering a theatrical. satirical and sharp show. and even ifwe can‘t understand the words. their wit travels well and there is always something happening on stage.
They shone at last year's Mayfest in the Tramway. Playing in front of constructivist graphics. the eight muscular women of the ‘Physical Exercise (iroup‘ knocked the Soviet stereotype of the sexless Party member. strong as an ox and drilled to perfection. while the sober-suited frontman raced up to a pulpit between songs to deliver ominous Russian introductions. Between them bounced the band. often slipping into the ska that is the backbone of Avia‘s sound - though. like most oftheir qualities. very different to what a British group would make of it. The music proved to be the weakest link. but still. such an enthusiastically played brew ofska. jazz and rock had not even started to wear on the nerves by the end.
The new show is called Forward It) l/lc’ IUUUI/l Anniversaryoft/1e (iron! October. Make of it what you will. but see ll. (Alastair Mabbott)
A rm play (i/usgmr "s King's 'Iillt'uln'un I‘m'l’ (Ult/ ivl'tl .1“.
The List 18—31 May 199015