I 29TH STREET SAXOPHONE QUARTET Ace altoist Bobby Watson remains the best known member. but the great strength 01 this quartet lies in their magniiicent ensemble understanding. Plus Steve Williamson, and not to be missed.
TDK Round Midnight. Queen's Hall (Venue 72). 668 2019. 29 Aug. 7.38pm.
I GEORGE MELLY Trad jazz and a high degree at nonsense irom singer. wit and raconteur Melly. assisted as usual byJohn Chilton's Feetwarmers. TDK Round Midnight. Queen's Hail (Venue 72), 668 2019. 28 Aug. 7.30pm. £7.
I MARTIN TAYLOR & NElLS-HENNING ORSTEQ PEDERSEN Highly rated Scottish-based guitarist links up with internationally renowned bassman lora lascinating duo concert. Royal Museum at Scotland (Venue 43). 225 7534 ext 219. 29 Aug. 6.30pm. £5.
I ANITA KELSEY BAND First chance to hear a young singer who is said lobe making a big impression on the London scene. Juwon is support. while Anita supports Bammie Rose in the evening gig.
Brilliant Corner, Cate Coste (Venue 31), 557 6849. 26 Aug-1 Sep. 12.15pm. £3 (£2).
I LITTLE EYE Scottish debutlor London quintet combining jazz standards with original compositions. utilising a mixture oi bebop and ethnic musical iniiuences.
Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49). 2259893. 27 Aug—1Sep. 12.15am. £3(£2).
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()ne of the best gigs I ever heard took place in a converted dance-hall in Norwich. which w ent under the rather grand name of the (iala Ballroom. It featured [.ondon reggae masters Aswad. back in the days when they were a roots outfit rather than a pop band. and was elevated above the simply good in large part by their brilliant horn section.
Looking back. it should come as no surprise that saxophonist Michael ‘Bammie‘ Rose likes to play jazz. llis fluid lines and fiery breaks always hinted at influences other than the music he played on the reggae circuit. ()nce ofJulian Bahula's celebrated Afro-jazz outfit. Bammie became a founder member of the Jazz Warriors. and still deps for the band. but prefers to concentrate on his own quartet these days.
‘l've been into the bebop thing for quite a while now‘f he confirms in his
.lamaican drawl. only slightly dampened by three decades in London. ‘My first instrument was flute. and l was very influenced by a South African flute player named llarold McNair in the late 1%ils. and also by the great .loe llarriott. and Peter King. 'l‘hat‘s where I‘m coming from. and I've been playing bebop off and on since about 197-13
While playing a (‘ovent Garden Wine Bar with a trio called Alumni. he met expatriate American drummer (‘lifford Jarvis. whose
credits included stints with Sun Ra.
Dexter ( iordon. l’haroah Sanders and ()rnette Coleman. Jarvis will bring additional ltistre to the ()uartet’s already essential Brilliant (‘orner residence. where they will be playing what Rose describes as ‘original music with a mixture of bebop. African and (‘arribean influences.‘ (Kenny Mathieson)
I Bammie Rose Quartet Brilliant (‘orncr at (‘afe (‘oste (Venue 3| ). 557 684‘). lb Aug—l Sep. 7pm. £5 (£4).
— A waltz with Steve
Steve Williamson's answering machine carries no verbal “please leave your name and number' message —the only invitation to the caller to speak comes in a lithe saxophone phrase. It is a neat touch from a man who likes to let his instrument do the talking, although the awkwardness which marked his early interviews has long gone. It has been replaced by a much more assertive coniidence in discussing the musical goals he has set himseli, a coniidence paralleled in the growth of his musical conception itsell.
Once held in thrall to Coltrane (‘i used to learn three ol his solos a week’), Williamson is now lorging out in new directions which owe as much to M-Base guru Steve Coleman and the example olJimi Hendrix, Prince or Soul II Soul as to Charlie Parker or Wayne Shorter. Williamson's collaboration with Coleman in New York on his highly musical debut album A Waltz For Grace, released on the revived Verve label earlierthis year, provides an indication oi the way in which his music might develop.
‘When i started my current group, it was very much a jazz group, and the music was inlluenced by people like Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson. As things moved on, though, i got tired oi hearing so many people playing the same Coltrane and Michael Brecker and
David Sanborn cliches. I got much more interested in a more rhythmic, groove-oriented thing. When I was younger, lwas a Parliament lanatic, and what I want now is to get some musicians together with that iunk background, but who are also able to improvise in a jazz context.’ Williamson has a voracious appetite lor new sounds, a sharp awareness of the plttalls surrounding anyone still rash enough to take on the music business in anything other than a business-like way, and a deep-rooted relusal to accept the old-iashioned round at pub gigs and miserable payments which were once perceived as the British jazzman’s lot. His long-term vision at iorging a music which is both artistically and commercially viable leaves no room
lorsuch outmoded ideas.
The ‘In Birdland’ concert which Williamson shares with the superb 29th Street Saxophone Quartet lalls on the 70th anniversary oi Charlie Parker's birth. Like generations oi jazzmen since, Williamson was first heaved in the direction at jazz by hearing Bird in flight, but his contribution to this concert is appropriate in another sense as well. Like Bird, Williamson is not content to simply inherit a musical tradition, but wants to create a direction of his own. The early indications suggest it will be a very lruittul one. (Kenny Mathieson) ‘ln Blrdland’ with the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet and the Steve Williamson Quintet, TDK Round Midnight, Queen’s Hall (Venue 72) 668 2019. 29 Aug, 7.30pm, £8.50, £7.