Giant Steppin‘ Stanes in rehearsal at Sandy Bell‘s. Tommy Smith gets earache trom Phil Bancrott's sax while John Rae playstiddle behind.

Setittish .seetie ti\ er the last l'ew years. with predietahly mixed hut otteii surprising results. It is surely no aeeident. then. that the l'olk l'iestiy al opens and eloses with some ol the prime moy ers in that area.

Perhaps the most impr'essiye merging ol'sty Ies yet aeliiey‘ed eomes trom the elosirig night attraetion. 'lihe ( 'auld Blast ( )rehestra. Karen \Vimhurst‘s imaginatiy e re—workings ol traditional material Int/(Mk 'limismz's Bur/‘22s still eoristitute the eore ol hoth their liy e set and their exeelleiit i‘eeording dehiit .Stri'uge l)imi'e. hut their musie is steadily hroadeniiig out lr‘om an already eeleetie hase. tuelled hy among other things a more oy ertly radieal jazz inlluenee trom \Vimhurst hersell. Steye Kettley and Mike 'l‘ray'is. as well as eonstruetiy e horrowings Irom roek and elassieal

‘It is exeiting to hay e sueh diller‘ent riiusieians working together.~ says

Wimhurst. ‘and that makes the hand

a wry ereatiy e unit to work in.

Despite the LllI-liC rent litie‘kgrtitltitls t it

the people iny'oly ed. though. we all seem to he in tune w ith the musie as a hand. men it eaeh ol us might ehoose to respond to a giyen phrase in a dillerent way. 'l‘here are a lot ot ideas heirig shared. and a lot t‘l energy is going into the musie.‘

What seems most exerting ahout (‘auld Blast is that they liay'e hy and large ay'oided the pitlalls t il trying to

I mix sometimes eoritrary musieal

Limpulses into a single sound 'l‘heir

musieay'oids heirig eitherhlandor tokenist. hut has already taken on a distinet group identity whieh eludes elassii'ieation. they are not a folk group. nor a jazz group. nor a rock group. nor a elassieal ensernhle. hut all those elements are present

w holly integrated ~ in the weay‘e ol their musie.

Sayourna Stey enson. who leatures in the l larp l‘estiy‘al. is also making great strides along the road lrom traditional harp musre to genuine jazz harmonies. alheit in a more restrained lashion than ( ‘auld Blast. 'l'he sueeess ol' 'l'ii era/.loru'riey‘ has hr'ought a seeond eommission lrom the Borders l’estiy‘al tor l‘Nl . to he hased on .lohn Birehan‘s story The .Ilrunisrnrg.

Steyenson‘s eomrnittrnent to jazz goes w ell heyorid naming her two-year-old son \Iiles. in honour ol a eertam trumpet player the harpist names \Iiehael Breekei‘. Pat Metheny and Mike Stern as the kind ol ligures w ho inlluenee her. and that makes sense in the light ot’ the hright. elean melodie and harmonie lilow ot her own musre. hoth iri 'l'weetl lorrrney and with her regular trio leaturing Neil I lay and Mike ’l‘ray'is.

‘l haye ney er heen mueh ot' a purist w hen it eomes to musie.‘ she asserts. ‘and I will use anything w hieh l think teels right. lhis is a yery exeiiing time tor that kind ol experiment. heeause there are a numher ot musieians who hasieally eome troni a traditional haekground w ho are now

looking to jazz and other sourees.

and at the same time a lot ol‘ the younger jazz players are eager to get iny'oly'ed with t‘olk musieians. and I would like to work with some of them as well.‘

The most outlandish (it these projeets to date. though. must he (iiant Steppin‘ Stanes. a eolleetion oi lamiliar Iaees from the jazz and Iolk seene. hut all doing y'ery unlamiliar things. the hand is something oi a moy'eahle least. depending on who is around on the oeeasions w hen they manage to tind a gig. hut it you eome aeross them. as on a reeent ()ueen‘s llall oeeasion. you are likely to lind. lor example. 'l‘ommy Smith playing tin whistle.

It the Stanes emhody the ariarehie sidetilthis l'ertile intermingling. l)iek Lee and l lamish .‘ytoore hay e heen wreaking equally radieal hay'oe in their impressiy'e duo lor reeds and pipes. whieh leatur‘es in the l‘olk I‘iestiy'al‘sopeningeoiieert.

the duo. in whieh the earelully paired instruments meet in a register oeeupyinga territoryot‘itsown somewhere hetween jazz and tolk. remains the most dey'eloped eomhination ola partnership w'hieh also operates in quartet. quintet and hig hand torm. and has moy ed in a dillerent direetion to that taken in l.ee's equally lttSL‘ltlttlltltjtltttt with Nigel Richard. 'l‘he latterN drummerless quartet. heard reeently' in [{dinhurgh. hadly laeked rhy thmie l‘oeus. hut did suggest another promising awhile for the omnivorous l.ee toexplore.




The List 22 March ~ 4 April 199717731

um:- #l

Identity erisis




National reeognition tor a low -protile independent release is a rare

oeeurr‘eiiee; rarer still

w hen the reeord in question is a ehoppy'sliee ol qurrkpop. hard on the ear ol the mainstream listener. lloweyer. Badgew earer‘s 'l'lrrs' Bug /.\ NHL-I [tit I‘.I)\\;is pieked up last summer by all the major musie weeklies to almost

uriiy ersal aeelaim. rneluding the Single ()f l‘he Week aeeolade in .Wt'lru/I' .Iiuker.

But their dehut has duhious origins. Ask how they linaneed the lzl’ and singer l)ay e will smueg point to a gasli on his face. "I‘his sear. that's where the money eame trom eriminal irijuries.' In fact. l)ay'e‘s injury turnsout to he their whole rurioii il'ern’: “the hand started knowing that Day'e‘s money was going toeorne through and knowing that with that money we were going to make asinglef explains hassist Tony.

The hand are at pains to reseirid the ‘happy thrashers' eard they‘y‘e heen dealt hy' the press. Neither are they eoriterit to lead the eloistered existenee of many ottheir tunkpunk peers. selling minimal amountsot reeords and play ing to the same ill people eyery time they stepon astage. "l'hat's the worst thing ahout playing in (ilasgow .' eomplams 'l oriy. ‘:\t the gigs you always see the same iaees and they go e you the impression that they 're right into the milsre. hut it‘s not that honest a response.‘

the group are planning a tew Izriglish gigs to remedy this. tollowed hy an alhum on Dawson's (irut't' \Vit Reeords to tamiliar'ise the rest oi the uriiyerse with their rarieorous name. w hieh they elarm is "an iii-joke hetw eeri the tour ot iis.‘

'.-\ hadgewearer is like your .iyerage goth walking ahout w ith this identity tor eyeryorie tosee. makmga point ot shoymg itdowri people‘s throats. lt eame Irom one guy in Last Kilhride with a denim jaeket eoy ered in Iron Maiden hadges. Says it all really .' t I'iltiltii Shepherd) litiil'geweurerp/ui l’ury‘ Murry "s. Glasgow on Wed i‘w rrli liltr‘ Ream/1.x and '1 lirilleii Skinny.