Glasgow Jazz Clubs and the all-new Calton Studios in Edinburgh.
LISTINGS: GLASGOW 78 EDINBURGH 79
It ain’t trad, Dad
It may sound hard to believe, but the next club phenomenon to hit the country could be jazz. What’s this all about, Daddio, asks Andrea Baxter.
London’s had it for a few years, Edinburgh got it last year and now it’s Glasgow’s turn to be exposed to the club scene they call Freestyle: jazz you can dance to. Club promoters Hi-Note are coming up from the capital this month for a one-off night at The Choice which fortuitously coincides with the Jazz Festival. I spoke to Ernesto of Hi-Note and asked him if the ‘Freestyle’ label wasn’t just a marketing device to make jazz hip for a younger audience. ‘No, it’s an attitude,’ says Ernesto firmly. ‘lt’s more danceable, a mixture of hip-hop and jazz really.’
But jazz does have a more youthful image these days with the rise of new stars like Courtney Pine and Tommy Smith. ‘Well, yeah, it has been moving that way for the last six years but we’re trying now to get away from this idea of what jazz is supposed to be about and putting more emphasis on the dancing, whereas before there was a lot of snobbery . . . we’re just trying to widen the audience.’
From being an underground club movement, Freestyle has now begun to grow in popularity, helped by some upfront programming on London’s new Jazz FM radio station. It tends to attract slightly older clubbers, twenty-somethings who may be becoming bored
with house and looking for a bit more choice. ‘They’re at the stage where they’re getting over the hill, starting to think about sorting their lives out and we’re trying to provide a more intelligent music for them’, is Ernesto’s tactful way of putting it. But have these fogies still got the energy to dance? Apparently yes. ‘A lot of them are into soul anyway and they may get older but they’re not going to let that feeling drop away. Everybody can dance to this. It‘s older music, though, because hip-hop and acid are just for kids nowadays, you see music like that in the same way as you see Kylie Minogue’. Hmm . . .
So it may be more sophisticated, but the Freestylers are keen to move away from jazz’s traditional and somewhat elitist ‘cool’ image, whereby the music itself becomes subordinated to the style, ending up as just another fashion or lifestyle accessory: ‘We must break down the suit barrier! Wearing suits makes you straight!’
Bands to watch out for include The Brand New Heavies, The New Jersey Queens and old faithfuls The James Taylor Quartet, who‘ve been around for a while, mixing 70$ rare grooves with be-bop for a very danceable sound. Even some of Soul II Soul’s records utilise old jazz beats with heavier drums on top. Bubbling under the charts just now is a track by Dana Brown called ’The
Master Plan’, which could be the one to break the scene.
The Hi-Note crew are certainly convinced that Freestyle could be the Next Big Thing: ‘This is going to be massive, people will get fed up with what’s around just now and we‘re trying to do something that’s exciting and ahead. This has never been done in Glasgow the way we’re going to do it and we just want people to come along with an open mind’.
Hi-Note at The Choice, 21 Royal Exchange Square, 2213260. 5 July only. Ilpnz—5am. £3.50.
FREESTYLE TOP TEN
1. Victory- Caveman; US 12in Profile.
2. Brothers Groove —The Brothers; Baseline LP. 3. La Noche—Joe Arroyo; Mango LP.
4. Face To Face — Baby Face Willette; Blue Note USA.
5. Domination Switch— Cassandra Wilson; JMT LP. 6. La Bossa — Fred Wesley; Hi—Note LP.
7. Peanut Vendor—Candida; Paramount LP.
8. Shalaode-Wganda Kenya; Mango 12in.
9. Rumba Para Monk—Jerry Gonzalez; US LP, Sunnyside.
10.Engine No. 9 — Wilson Pickett; Atlantic.
‘We’ve advertised all over Scotland, and that's exactly where we expect people to come from. Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow. . .thls will be a truly national experience.’
The event is the launch of an Innovative dance club, an uncompromisineg style-orientated twice-weekly affair.
The place is Edinburgh's newly-refurbished Calton Studios, a sparse post-industrial nee-Hacienda design.
Your host is Yogi, owner of the most comprehensive collection of black contemporary music this side of Manchester, a man considered to be the best club DJ in Scotland.
‘We’ve got the very latest equipment - hard core Intelligent lighting, three decks, samplers, digital delays. in tact we’ve got the best equipment in the country.’
The re-opening of one of the city’s foremost venues has altered clubland visionary Yogi the opportunity to continue with his nightlife expansion policy- but in rather more salubrious surroundings. From a residency at The Hooch then to organising legendary all-nighters, Yogi now has the even more ambitious aim of a truly two-dimensional club.
On both Fridays and Saturdays he, along with fellow DJ Craig Smith, will mix a hot fusion of house and garage in the downstairs level of the building, whilst on the upper level there will be alternately a reggae love lounge and an independent soul room. Also planned are various other events and one-offs.
‘We’re going to have guest MS from all over Europe and America. There are lots of other stuff as yet unconfirmed, but they'll be the sort of live acts and PA's that you just would not expect up here. This is going to be THE club In Edinburgh. No, this is going to be THE club in Scotland.‘ (Avril Mair)
Fuse will set the sparks flying for the ilrst time tomorrow, 29 June. Saturday will see a visit by Chub Bock, Howie Tee, Extreme Prejudice and DJ Bin Nizz.
The List 29June— 12July 199077