' I The Oylans: Lemon i Afternoon (Situation Two)

sad to say. a song-free E zone. On and on and on it ' goes- organ fill. drum

thingwithlittle * divergence or interesting

babysong vocals. When

though. it becomes

trying to make an ‘epic‘ of

L___. - . _____-- 44 The List 17— 30 May 1991

Nomad may well be ‘just a groove'. but they sure haven‘t got the monopoly. The Dylans‘ follow-up to the mighty ‘Godlike' is.

beat. guitar theme. caught in a mouse’s wheel, each chasing the other‘s tail. unable to get off. ‘Lemon Afternoon‘ is a cyclical

angles. Smooth. hollow. and very very monotonous. (CMcL)

I Gang Starr: Lovesick (Cooltempo) From the sassy jazz thrill of the Step In TheArena album. Gang Starr lift a rap well-defined in its intentions and immaculately manicured in its presentation. The brass refrain is the foundation round which The GURU relates a tale ofamorous woe. Like the rhymes. the tone is reasonable and hassle-free. A perfect antidote to the stressed-out sweats of that Hammer chappy. (CMcL) I Into Paradise: Angel (Ensign) Intensity as a virtue. not a vice. Into Paradise eschew the recently trodden path, offering steel-studded guitars free of any fiddling with gimmicky pedals. David Long‘s voice. as ever seemingly on the edge of pain. echoes toa backdrop of ‘New Wave-ish‘ (what‘s that then?) vibrancy. Angelis cool rock with not a dance beat in sight. allowany retro and winningly refreshing. Won‘t sell at all. (CMcL)

I Cranes: Adoration/Brighter (Dedicated) Great white hopes ofthe indie charts Cranes may be. but they've got a lot of work to do to live up to that. ‘Brighter‘ is just as they describe it, an electro-acoustic flamenco-rocker. but of far greater interest is the flipside. which opens with only pensive piano and Alison Shaw‘s enchanting

the drums come in. apparent that they‘re

it. and the really epic promise ofthe preceding

minutes drops away. (AM)


Alone together


John Surman

if any British jazz musician can lay claim to having made a major

contribution to contemporary European jazz, than surely it is John Surman. The 5

affable West Countryman has undergone a number of changes in direction since he first appeared on the jazz scene in the 1960s, but he has remained an innovatorthrough all of them.

As one of the young turks who defined 5

the path of free Improvisation in the 60s, Surman earned a reputation as a fiery performer on the baritone saxophone, still the rarest of Adolphe

Sax’s creations on the jazz lront. In the l

80s, however, Surman has

concentrated much more on a series of

recording projects for the ECM labe’J, either in a duo with his partner, " Norwegian singer Karin Krog, or- more often—solo.

While that ‘solo' tag is literally true : Surman is the only musician involved - ;

the music he makes is not only multl-instrumental, but usually multi-Iayered as well. A specialist not only on baritone and soprano saxes, but also on arguably the loveliest and most difficult of reed instruments, the bass clarinet, Surman lays down his delicate, melodic improvisations over his own intricately constructed rhythmic and textural base, supplied via his bank of keyboards and synths. Surman will appear solo at Mayfest-

(Henry Wood Hall, Saturday 25) and in

Edinburgh (Oueen’s Hall, Sunday 26). That format has allowed him toblend

his jazz roots with an interest in English

folk music, which has come to play an increasingly dominant part in albums like the recent The Road To St Ives, or its predecessor, Private City.

If the shift has not proved universally

popular, it is nonetheless music of great beauty and resilience; like Jan Garbarek, Surman has perhaps knowingly sacrificed one form of energy in his music (or rather, this

particular strand of it), and found quite

another. That, alter all, is how artists grow. (Kenny Mathieson)

Thinking big

Tom Bancroft’s formal training effectively ended when he passed classical Grade Six by one mark and decided to quit while he was ahead, but

; it has not stopped him extending his

drumming activities into the realm of composition. The chance to spend a year in Canada studying harmony in the winter of 1988-9 led to the formation of his eight-piece Orange Ear Ensemble,

3 but his nineteen-piece Orchestra has

provided an even more ambitious test

~ of his writing and arranging skills.

His music reflects the influence of

~ many of his musical mentors, from

Charles Mingus through to the likes of Henry Threadgill or David Murray, but

i is marked with his own distinctive stamp. The Orchestra’s debut last year i

suggested an almost infinite range of possibilities, merging highly

z imaginative charts with blistering

improvisation in a constantly shifting


‘I want the power and drive of a big band, but I have never been into the kind of modern big bands which just use the old sectional ideas, which were

greatwhen Duke Ellington did them,

but sound tired nowadays,‘ Tom explained.

‘I will work in instrumental registers instead, although I will still be able to organise it in the conventional way as well if I want, because all those instruments will be on stage. The size

Torn Bancroft

is intimidating, but I feel more confident in writing for it now, and we

i will be playing some new things I'm

still working on. I am really interested in the tension between the free side and the structured side of the music, and the band reflects that.‘

The Orchestra play at the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh on Fri 17 with the Chick

, Lyall Ouartet (both Tom and his twin ; brother Phil are members), and will ' also be playing in Glasgow during the

Jazz Festival. (Kenny Mathieson)

Colour Cons- cious

Pop politicos or down-to-earth rock band? Living Colour challenge

'1 traditional perceptions of

American rock music, as Paul W Hullah discovers.

Formed in New York in 1986, Living Colour bring a healthy realism whether it be the reality ofbeing

. black, or simply the reality of being

alive- to the rock arena they inventiver inhabit. Their widely acclaimed debut album. 1988‘s Vivid, though never stooping to the dumb racist-inversions of Public Enemy. crystallised twenty years of Black Power Movement polemic onto vinyl and earned the four-piece a reputation as ouspoken politicos. Just as importantly, the group‘s success re-opened a chapter of rock history long skimmed over by the critics— that of the unspoken tradition of plain black rock, and not ‘reggae‘. ‘soul‘, ‘rap‘ or whatever