FESTIVAL _ music/Jazz


I MOSE ALLISON The idiosyncratic US blues singer with pronounced jazz overtones is Tam White’s special guest at the now-traditional Blues night, and also plays around the Jazz Festival circuit.

Jazz Pavilion, Meadowbank (Jazz Venue 1) 557 1642. 23 Aug. 9pm—1am. £6.

I SALUTE T0 LOUIS ARMSTRONG Humphrey Lyttelton and the Nat Pierce All-Stars lead a tribute to the great New Orleans trumpeter. Plus Kenny Ball, Bod Mason’s ilot Five and the 100 Club All-Stars.

Jazz Pavilion, Meadowbank (Jazz Venue 1) 557 1642. 20 Aug, 9pm—2am. £7.

1990 version oi drummer BlIl Kyle’s populartouring band leatures US visitors Tim Ouimette (trumpet) and Todd Anderson (sexes). Fingers Piano Bar, Frederick Street (Jan Venue 11) 21-2 ug, 7-9.30pm. $3.5 (on door only).

I MERVYll AFRICA Solo pertormance irom percussive and highly inventive South AIrican pianist, combining his native music with jazz in compelling lashion. Pepe Le Moko supports.

Brilliant Comer, Cale Coste, Cowgate (Venue 31) 557 6849.19-25 Aug. 12.15pm. £3 (£2).

I PINSItI 200 Nottingham-based quartet tuse Ilerce contemporary jazz (with distinct Omette Coleman overtones) and a slamming iunk bass line in their highly distinctive music. Mervyn Atrica supports.

Brilliant Comer. Cale Coste, Cowgate (Venue 31) 557 6849, 19—25 Aug. 7pm. £5 (£4).

I JAZZ FESTIVAL PARADE Join the crowds iorwhat Mike Hart claims lsthe biggest Jan Parade in Europe, culminating in a mass jam session in The Grassmarket.

Regent Road—Princes Street—Lothian Road-King Stables Road- Grassmarket, 19 Aug, 2pm. Free.

I new m JAZZ m

Wheeler’s deal

The identity of the mysterious special guest promised at Tommy Smith’s two late-night Jazz Festival concerts has now been revealed, and an intriguing choice it proves to be. Trumpeter Kenny Wheeler will join the saxophonist’s otherwise young quintet, featuring electrifying pianist Jason Rebello, guitarist Paul Stacey, Terje Gewelt on bass, and drummer Ian Froman.

Wheeler started out in big bands led by the likes of Roy Fox and Vic Lewis, but quickly moved over into the Bebop camp alongside the likes of saxophonists Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott, and Scottish trumpeter Jimmy Deuchar. Joining the avant-garde scene in the mid-19605 was more accidental.

‘To be honest,’ he recalled, ‘it was because drummer John Stevens asked me if I wanted to play, and nobody else was offering me gigs at the time. I got to like it after a while, and then I started to get asked to play free jazz in Europe, and joined

Anthony Braxton’s band for a while. It was only five or six years later that people over there began to realise that I also played music with straight changes. I love playing bebop, and that is my roots, but there has to be

room for all kinds of music.’

Wheeler’s new record, The Widow in the Window (he has an incurable liking for eccentric and punning titles), sees his return to the ECM label, for whom he recorded the classic Deer Wan, Gnu High and Double, Double You sessions with the likes ofJan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, John Abercrombie and Michael Brecker as his illustrious

sidemen. An imaginative improviser, his lyrical, bittersweet tone on both trumpet and flugelhorn is never predictable.

With Tommy Smith sounding in particularly incandescent form at recent gigs, this should be a memorable occasion, although it will also mark the parting of the ways for Jason Rebello. The young pianist has signed to the go-ahead BMG Novus label, and is leaving to concentrate on his own career. (Kenny Mathieson)

I Tommy Smith Quintet with Kenny Wheeler Queen’s Hall (Venue 72) 20—21 Aug, 11pm.


Brother from another


Backstage at London rawk’n'roll dive, The Mean Fiddler, a portly septuagenarian black man clad in llowing robes and sporting orange hair with goatee to match is unturling the secrets ol the universe. An hour later and he will be on stage leading one oi the world’s premierjazz big bands through their paces. Welcome to the

wonderiul, mystic world at the one they

call Sun Ra.

A low days belore our meeting, Sunny

(as everyone seems to call him) was commissioned to write a special piece entitled Music For The 21st Century by the august organisers oi the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival, just one more instance oi how space

commander Mike Hart has transtormed

the Edinburgh event into Scotland’s leading centre or interstellar jazz activity.

0K, irony attack over. You’d need to conclusively prove the existence ot straw hats and banjos as undeniable manilestatlons ot extraterrestrial intelligence belore the Edinburgh Jazz Festival entered the space age, but, bless 'em, they've booked Sun Ra. With characteristic inscrutablllty Mr Ra's response when I spoke to him was ‘Music For The 21 st Century? I wrote

\ h S .

E _V § ~_ '

that in 1965. I work ahead. I’m writng my 30th century music now.’

Hmm. Il you’ve evertried to interview someone who's not 01 this earth, you’ll know it presents something oi a journalistic challenge. There's so much you'd like to know irom Sun Ra. Alter all, he’s one at the most extraordinary musicians in jazz. A veteran piano stylist and pioneer oi electronic keyboards, his long-running Arkestra producing more than three decades at vibrant big band music that ranges irom eerie avant-garde spaciousness to joyous swing era revivallsm, and has given us topnotch players like tenorist John Gilmore. Yet, music seems to come pretty low in Sun Ra’s set oi priorities. He’s much more interested in revealing his, er, - philosophical message, the details oi which seem (how do you put It?) somewhat cranky, but the conviction with which they're delivered undeniable.

‘l’m not interested in this planet because I'm not ol it. I gotta keep in with my brothers out in space and know

what they’re doing because they're controlling this planet and they don't have a good opinion at people. I didn’t choose music tor my message, it chose me, but the more I tell people the less they understand. Man’s mind is so limited. He only uses live per cent at his brain, you know.’

Sunny speaks soitly and with not a little wry humour, while I make manlul eltorts to keep a straight lace. His best story concerns a 1969 Paris concert where, outside the hall, he claims to have quelled an unruly mob jostling with the French police and army by producing beams at light lrom his hands. ‘Every time I play, mysterious things go on, but They protect me,’ he retlects. ‘My parents were gone when l was eleven years old, but I was in contact with the Creator so he took care oi me. Heckon he did a pretty good job.’

Sun Ba and His Arkestra play the Jazz Pavilion, Meadowbank on Tue.21 Aug, 9pm. Tickets Irom the International Festival Oilice, Market Street, 225


The List 17 - 23 August 1990 51