Jason Rebello: taking the fusiontrall Roadside Picnic have established themselves as the major new voice in British fusion in the last couple of years, with two artistically successful albums behind them. and a growing reputation as one of the more exciting live bands on the jazz circuit. The coincidental juxtaposition of the band‘s Scottish Jazz Network tour (see Listings) with visits from Steve Coleman and the great Joe Zawinul will provide three very different variants of a sometimes discredited genre.
Composer and bass player Mario Castronari sees Roadside‘s sound as a unique compendium ofinﬂuences, includingjazz, funk. progressive rock, and even classical music, rather than the smoothly in-the-groove model ofmuch American fusion.
‘It occurred to me that ifl liked all these other kinds of music, then there must be something in them I could use,‘ Mario argues. ‘As a jazz player, it is easy to become a little snobbish about rock and other forms, because jazz is such a highly-developed art, but why not bring these other elements in ifwe respond to them emotionally?’
Just to emphasise that fusion is still an attractive medium to young musicians. Novus label-mate Jason Rebello, best known up here for his incendiary acoustic piano work with Tommy Smith, has opted for that route in his long-awaited debut album, A Clearer View, which features Roadside saxman Dave O'Higgins. and the great Wayne Shorter as producer. It will surprise those who know him through his acoustic jazz work.
‘I haven‘t really done anything in the fusion style before, other than the odd gig. but that is where I started off in terms of the music I was into. so it has always been there. I haven‘t had the right equipment for very long, for one thing, but I really just wanted a change. It doesn‘t mean lam not into acoustic playing, because I love it. but I decided to do something different in terms of my own development, and try to keep a jazz feel to it as well.‘
Rebello has no Scottish dates on his current tour. but Novus hope that the player will visit here in 1991. A Clearer View is out now. (Kenny Mathieson)
ROCK 8: BLUES 36 JAZZ 40 LIGHT 40 FOLK 8: WORLD 42 CLASSICAL 43
Snell Scottish November winds can
beat against the floating conservatory of Renfrew Ferry next week, but inside, the temperature will climb with the Jolly Boys' music, a sound heard in a conch, the rhythm of Jamaica before jets.
Unhurried guitar and banjo play over tom-toms and a rhumba box, the latter, played by Joseph Bennett, being a suitcase-sized variant of the thumb piano that seductively defines their sound.
Original member and banjo player
: Moses Deans formed the band, which
used to play at Errol Flynn’s parties in the 50s, and the sound has remained the same as new members have
3 arrived over the decades. Guitarist and , junior member Noel Howard is a . youthful 50-year-old, but their music,
though old-fashioned, is somehow timeless.
Though all four sing and harmonise, it is the warm voice of singer and drummer Allan Swymmer that is the heart of the group. A first album, ‘Pop'n’Mento', was released in Britain by Cooking Vinyl, culled from scores of songs laid down in the group’s first ever recording session last year.
Their huge repertoire is the product of
an everlasting nightly engagement playing underthe palms and the stars, and kissed by balmy sea breezes as the house band of one of Jamaica’s grandest old beach hotels, and though they might sing of the raunchiest
; subjects, it's dressed in familiar
metaphor, amusing symbol.
Their ‘mento' music is as laid-back and acoustic as one would expect from theirtropical island paradise, but suggests many forms, from calypso to ska, West-African rhythms to hints of blues, and the defiant syncopation of reggae.
Along rum cocktail and an evening in their company should be just the thing as the nights draw in. Have both at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms on Wed 21 and Renfrew Ferry on Tue 20. (Norman Chalmers)
‘Move Over Charley Pride and Give
Another Nigger a Chance' was Bobby Womack’s working title for a country
; and western album; one be, perhaps ; wisely, discarded. But for Womack,
dabbling in country was a diversion from one of the most auspicious careers in soul music—for Charley Pride, born on a Mississippi cotton farm in 1938 and later to save up his boyhood pennies for a $10 Sears Roebuck guitar, country music is a way of life. He has the distinction of being the only black singerto carve a place for himself in the country establishment- an honour he has enjoyed for 35 years.
However, the dominant ambition of his early years was to make it in baseball. A pitcher and outfield player lorthe Memphis Red Sox until his draft came in 1954, he returned to the game as a semi-pro player. Rejections from
i the California Angels and the New York ! Mets eventually spurred into action his secondary career of singing, and he
1 was signed to RCA by the great Chef
1 Atkins himself. His debut release,
! ‘Snakes Crawl at Night‘, was spun by a
large number of DJs who had no idea at
3 first that this country singer was f anything but white.
Pride, who was initially helped in the racially sensitive Southern states by the decision of Willie Nelson to feature him on his tours, eventually became RCA's top-selling country artist, his baritone gracing hits like ‘All I Have to Offer is Me', ‘l‘d Rather Love You’, ‘Kiss an Angel Good Moming', and ‘Don't Fight the Feelings of Love.‘ His position remains unassailable. (Alastair Mabbott)
Charley Pride plays the Pavilion, Glasgow, on Tue 13 and Wed 14.
Hard though it is todefine ‘signability‘. Yo Yo Honey have that quality in abundance, and an imminent signing isonthe cards for this new group of ex-Win member Manny Shinowa. singer Anita and percussionist Chidi.
Whilst ‘contractually the fourth member' of Win, Shinowa was composing tracks for himself. but only as the end of that group loomed did he decide to make something more ofit. Fruitless quests for a singer to front his vocal-free demos eventually led to the discovery of Anita. who had experience ofsinging in a range of groupsin London. and decided that ‘What Manny was doing was far more interesting than what I was doing myself.‘
‘Live work isjust around the corner,‘ Manny predicted a few
weeks ago, and indeed it is. Although they hope to get enough money to make up a band. their set at the Champion will comprise live vocals on about half a dozen numbers with the helpof DAT. sequencer. (Thidi on congas. and Manny playing ‘whatever I can‘.
Their current situation?
‘There are a lot ofthings going down in terms of pieces of paper, but until something‘s been signed. it's nothing. I like to deal in facts.‘
Okay. the fact is ‘Yo Yo' and ‘80 Soft‘. plus whatever else is stored on their DATs. are begging to be heard. and widely. (Alastair Mabbott)
Y0 Y0 Honey play The Champion, Glasgow on Frilé.
34 The List 9 — 22 November 1990