George Clinton, Scottish Political Songs. Pinski Zoo and The Matter Babies.



Out of the


Kenny Mathieson talks to Pinski Zoo saxophonist Jan Kopinski.

Pinski Zoo have been ploughing a lonely but determined furrow for the best part of a decade now. The band‘s searing, explosive collision between the emotive power ofJohn Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix and a slamming funk beat has won them much critical acclaim, but as yet their records have been issued by small and equally determined companies (currently Jazz Cafe owner Jon Dabner’s Jazz Cafe Records), and they have still to make the step up into bigger


Since Pinski Zoo toe no imposed ideological line, exhibit a healthy disregard for passing fashion and demand that their listeners be prepared to accept music which is not only loud and abrasive, but also challenging, this state of affairs is hardly inexplicable. The band saxophonist Jan Kopinski, keyboard player Steve Iliffe, bassman Karl Wesley Bingham, and drummer Steve Harris - have refused to compromise their musical path, and compromise is almost always an essential for wide acceptance.

Their new recording, East Rail East, the band‘s

second JCR release following last year’s powerful

Rare Breeds, captures much of the spirit of Pinski in full flight. but there is no substitute for the full-power charge ofone of their good live nights

(it isn‘t always, but then who is?). In recent times,

KOpinski has made increased use of electronic

f' It:

delays and feedback on stage, adding an even heavier dimension to an already killer sound.

‘I like the idea of the horn section feel. so I used to try to double up with delays and so on,‘ Kopinski told me. ‘I do like those heavy sounds that Coltrane or Pharoah Sanders used to get. that heavy emotional sound, and I am always trying to find that on the horn. I use my monitor for feedback, and sometimes get very heavy feedback. so I‘ve been using that, especially since I‘ve been bombarded with Hendrix again in the last couple ofyears. Basically, though, I‘m just trying to extend the vocal sound of the horn

through electronic means. Every saxophone player spends his life trying to find their tone. and I‘m still working on that.‘

Kopinski and Iliffe are the heart ofa remarkably long-running band. but each of the players has a distinctive contribution to make to the overall sound. Bassman Karl Wesley Bingham did leave the band at one point. but has been back in harness for five years or so. while drummer Steve Harris, who has a marked liking for hardcore. joined just over a year ago. Given their diverse backgrounds and influences. it is no

surprise that Kopinski is reluctant to classify

them as a jazz band.

‘I‘ve never really thought ofit like that. although for my instrument jazz is where the players are. Jazz is an area which is supposed to

allow you freedom. but over the past few years

that has been a contradictory idea. Straight-jackets abound in jazz as much as anywhere else, and more so in some circles. The funk influence comes mainly from Karl. but Steve is only really into Cecil Taylor and McCoy

v Tyner, and his feel is more peculiar classical than jazz. [can‘t figure out where he comes from 3 sometimes.‘

The band are often linked with Ornette

Coleman’s Harmolodic concept. an influence Jan acknowledges. but ‘only in the sense that he was

an inspiration. We don’t use the Harmolodic system as a formal system, it’s just that Ornette is

e such a great player. and he seemed to be doing stuffwhich said yes, you can have your own way

ofdoing things. Harmolodics is something people talk about, but you can never really pin it down. When you speak to people who have worked with

him. it's very difficult to be precise about what

Harmolodics actually is. and when you talk to guys like David Murray. they reckon it all goes

' back to Charlie Parker anyway!‘

Pinski 200, Third Eye Centre. 2July, 7. 30pm. See Jazz Festival listings.


I BARK HORSES. . . The Wendys. an unsigned Edinburgh group whose initial appearances had audiences mumbling about early Wire. The Smiths and The Wedding Present. are being taken very seriously in some quarters. to wit, Factory Records. Indeed. so much interest has been raised by the quartet that Factory boss and walking mouthpiece for Manchester

Tony Wilson phoned up to say he was making an ultra-rare trip up to Scotland to see their next gig personally. Wouldn’t be in their shoes. Are they nervous? Wouldn't you be? I NOW YOU CAN listen to all these bands you've only heard about. and all inthe comfort of your own home. The infamous McEwan's Lager/Tower Studios demo chart is now on the phone.

Dial 0898 666470 to hear the chart rundown. and through the magical iiggery-pokery of British Telecom hear as many of the songs on the chart as you want. Calls are charged at 25p per minute off peak and 38p the rest of the time. But who is the mystery announcer. who we can hear has beentaking lessonsfrom the Alan Freeman charm school?

I MORE FROM the very busy Tower Studios. Be sure to drop in on the dates they've organised at the Tramway this fortnight underthe banner ‘BBN' (it stands for ‘Three Big

Nights'), which features two up and coming local acts, wuch as Worldwide. Moni

and Louise Rutkowski. each night. The bands were chosen because they are either signed or look likely signees. Early publicity had itdown as ‘C-Side Rock'. which sounded even worse.

Worldwide I free. What did Jackie

I IT'S AS FAR out olour

falling oft the edge ofthe world. but nevertheless.

Wilson say in the Van Morrison song of the same name? Entries must reach Listen! at the Edinburgh address as quickly as possible.

area as you can getwithout

we've managed to procure a i pair of tickets forthe biggest WOMAD event ever. to be held at Reading in Berkshire on the 20—22 July. Headlined by Van Morrison and featuring a dazzling array of performers from Thomas Maplumo and Cheba Fadela to dub poet Mutabaruka and Australian folk band Weddings Parties F Anything. The tickets would I normally cost £30 each, but j one lucky contestantwho l answers the iollowing '

question will win a pair .. Thomas Maplumo

The List 29June— IZJuly 199037