Michael Tilson Thomas and Joanna MacGregor of New World Symphony
lfit didn't have the name ‘New
music colleges in Britain for calling it ‘Another World‘. Created in 1987 as America‘s national training orchestra. the New World Symphony Orchestra provides a unique stepping stone between college and a professional career for some of the country's most gifted young musicians. Home is a converted Art Deco hotel on Miami Beach. where the students live. study and rehearse — and perhaps occasionally sunbathe.
Glasgow is the first stop in the New World Symphony‘s first visit to the UK. which also includes other highly prestigious venues such as the new Symphony Hall in Birmingham and London‘s Barbican. Just over two years ago. their debut international tour took them to Paris. Buenos Aires. Montevideo and Sao Paulo. Under the artistic direction of Michael 'l‘ilson Thomas. who conducts the UK performances. the orchestra has worked with artists every hit as exciting as the places it has played.
Distinguished artists such as Joshua Bell. Midori. Anne-Sophie Mutter. Arleen Auger and limanual Ax are all associated with the orchestra. with the current tour featuring the young British pianist Joanna Macgregor as soloist in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No 2. Other works on their (ilasgow programmes are (‘opland’s ‘Billy The Kid' and the Symphony No -l by Brahms. And proving that the concept works. within four years no less than ()5 musicians have launched their professional careers in sortie of the world's top orchestras. including the USA‘sown Boston. ('hieago and Indianapolis Symphony ()rchestras. ((‘arol Main)
The New World .S’ymp/imiy play (ilasgnii- Royal ('mrcer! Hall on Fri
30 The List 17; 3(lJanuary I992
World‘. one could forgive students at
. Urban warriors
' ‘To stay together,‘ is how DJ DNA of l Amsterdam-based Urban Dance Squad describes the aims of his hand. It‘s no wonder their aspirations are so unambitious considering that in 1989, after three years together, the band recorded their debut, and what they thought was to be their only album - Mental Floss ForThe Globe. However, so pleased were they with the collection that the amicable parting was put on hold. A worldwide distribution deal was quickly secured with Arista allowing the band to remain, to all intents and purposes, independent. The deal quickly led to a support slot with Living Colour and an American Top 20 single in the shape of ‘Deeper Shade Of Soul.‘ So far, this success has not been matched in the UK, a situation that seems incredible
afterthe almost universal praise the album received, but less surprising when you consider that, according to the band, Arista failed to get it into the shops.
They find Amsterdam comfortable due to its relaxed attitudes to race and politics—they have been surprised by the prejudices they encounter elsewhere. You see, Urban Dance Squad, with members from Holland, South America and Indonesia, are truly multi-cultural and while DNA concedes that ‘where there are races there will be racism‘ some interviews have left him speechless.
‘Dne German rock journalist just couldn‘t understand how we could play hard rock with a black bassist.‘
The pairing with Living Colourwas entirely appropriate. Both explore the type of rock music normally reserved for middle-class whites while taking on
. board the rhythmic influences of
predominantly black music. Indeed, Urban Dance Squad‘s influences range from the Delta Blueleimi Hendrix/Captain Beelheart of guitarist Tre Manos to bassist Silly Sil‘s appreciation of Funkadelic, and rapper Rude Boy‘s love of Ska, The Beatles and XTC. It may seem difficult to believe, but on their latest album, Life ‘n‘ Perspectives Of A Genuine Crossover, these varying elements do come together and successfully create a sound which, although not entirely revolutionary, is certainly refreshing. (James Haliburton)
Urban Dance Squad play King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on Monday 20.
1 Once they were Ask Allan, then it was
Smile Orange, then finally they were
; just Smile-on the radio, on the telly
and all over the joint. After months of
hapless pub gigs, Smile are on the
rise, quality vendors of that gainful, tunesome, Beatley, loco-type thang so beloved of such latterday acolytes as Jellylish and World Party. Fendlng off the cries of derivative opportunism, singer-songwriter Dean Owens gets all metaphorical on us.
‘I always say, there are loads of artists who have the same kind of paints, but they can‘t all paint the same kind of picture. . .‘
Fine imagery, I‘m sure. Backing up
the firmness of conviction of the singer ‘ and the grooviness of the songs‘
= swagger come the results of extensive ' market research. Early demos
completed, a Smile tape was duly despatched to Radio Forth‘s Head of
Music and found its way on to the
‘Double Joint‘ programme one Sunday afternoon. A track was played, the results impressive.
‘They got loads of letters and phone calls at Radio Forth, and people had been going into HMV asking for a record that didn‘t exist - they thought the demo was a single. I thought it was all a wind-up by some of the guys in the band!‘
Thereafter, a slot on Scottish Television‘s ‘HB‘ secured Smile‘s growing reputation round those here parts. All of which will soon culminate in a six-month, one-off single deal with a mystery Scottish label, the peak (so far, anyway) of a hectic three months. But still Dean feels lettered by a lack of serious gigs and of serious management.
‘l can only take it so far myself. People will only listen to the singer in a band so much; you really should have someone acting on your behalf, it‘s more impressive, it’s more businesslike. I‘m a singer and a songwriter, not a businessman.‘ (Craig McLean)
Smile play The Venue, Edinburgh on Mon 20.
l.co l-cigiii has done more than anyone to champion Russian jazz and experimental music in the West and no one is better placed to tell the story of its underground existence under the old Soviet system. l le does so in a ten-part documentary series on Russian New Music. which will begin with an introductory
oy erview and a profile of pianist. composer and anarchic showman Sergey Kuryokliin.
Feigin. a Russian emigre. has fought to release smuggled recordings from the Soviet lfiiion through Leo Records. using his ow it money and time. Apart from a brief commotion over the (iaiiclin Trio (pianist Slava (ianelin. now resident in Israel. w ill ligure in the series) in the mid-Sits. his efforts have met with studious disregard.
"l‘he records which I produce from the Soviet l'nion don't sell. and don't enjoy support from the critics. with honourable exceptions. If Iran the label on strictly commercial grounds. I would only record .'\ltlL‘l'lc‘;llls and littropcans. but I do not see why I should toich my Rtissian heritage.
'l produce records w ill) a very delinitc senseot history . and as time goes by. I feel I am right. It may mean a financial loss for me. but it is not a lossin artistic terms.‘
l’eigin hopes the series will stimulate interest in the music. much of which will be not only unfamiliar. btit downright strange. Artists featured w ill include singer Valentina l’onomareva. saxophonist l’ctras \’ysniaukas. and the tan groups .-\rkhangclsk and ()rkestrion. as well as the bizarre throat-singing of Sainkho Nanichylak. and the even more bizarre Natasha l’schenichnikoy a. who Uses a blow torch among more conventional instruments. (Kenny Mathieson)
Russian New .tlusic.x1arty (m ( 'liamrel J on Thursday 3(llanuary.