Tommy Smith

The Lothian Jazz School first ran in the early 1980s, but is now being revived under a director who was a pupil of the original school. saxophonist Tommy Smith. The sessions will be open to anyone who can play their instrument to a basic degree, and will concentrate on the central jazz art. that of improvisation.

The inaugural course is already underway at Broughton High School. but the organisers hope to run on a term-by-term basis. Sessions are spread over three Saturdays, each lasting three hours. and tutors will include brass expert Eddie Severn. guitarist Lachlan McColl, pianist Brian Kellock. and Kenny Ellis on bass.

’When I did the school as a kid. the tutors were very much finding their way, with very little prepared material, and maybe no clear concept of what they were trying to do. This time, the tutors are all experienced, and l have prepared a couple of booklets on Harmony and The Art of Improvisation which will be given to anyone taking the course. and I hope they will work with them between sessions.

‘Our aim in the course is to give players a better understanding of jazz and oftheir instruments. but it is also important just to bring people together and give them a little encouragement. People like the Bancroft brothers and John Rae were on the original course with me. and we will be hoping to develop the next wave of young Scottish musicians.‘

That will also be the aim of the Scottish Youth Jazz Competition. organised by Eddie Severn for the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival. The winners will be given an opportunity to play in the Festival in August. It may not be a guarantee of fame and fortune. but Mike Hart. the Director of the EIJF. has been reminding all and sundry that a previous winner was a certain Tommy Smith. and he hasn‘t done too badly. (Kenny Mathieson) Information on future Jazz Schools is available from Assembly Direct, 7

Cumberland Street, Edinburgh EH3 6RT(0315574446).

26 The List 27 March :9 April 1992

n l— H

I Guitar-wielding singer/songwriters are

Harping on

predominate overthe next two weeks: Cuban-born virtuoso guitarist, and a good singertoo, Isaac Guillory has built up a quite a following in Scotland overthe last lew years; Keiran Goss is an Irish minstrel who shares his contessionals with some traditional song and a cosy way with an audience; while Edinburgh’s Gill Bowman slices up lile with a lemale perspective in her own compositions and accompanies herself in an appealing, understated acoustic guitarstyle.

Mike Whellans is the last ol our songwriting guitar players, and as

i befits a bluesman, he’s been on the

road a long time.

Originallytrom Lauder in the Borders, Mike is now resident in Denmark. He started playing in the early 60s, during the first British blues boom. His inlluences then were Sonny Terry and Browny McGhee and Sonny Boy Williamson. Later, he fell under the spell ol the hard-driving Chicago urban 8&8 bands and especially the sound of the amplified harmonica, played ‘cross harp’. Forthe uninitiated, when playing the blues, a mouth organ (harp) is never played in the key that the instrument is designed tor. Excuse the terminology, but the

player wants more sucks than blows, to allow more bending of notes, hence the

relined cross harp technique. Nowadays, Mike tours allover Europe playing the music he loves, and

' writing a lot at it himsell. His Temple

CD/Cassette, ‘Swing Time Johnny Red' gives a good llavour of his live performance, characterised by a tremendous energy on vocals and guitar, startling vocal percussion, and tremendous harmonica-blowing.

It doesn’t sound at all like someone who was in a duo with My Bain, and an original member of the Boys Of The Lough; but that was a cul de sac, many years ago. Mike started playing music as a drummer in Scottish Country Dance scene but knows that when he gets to heaven he’ll be playing in Muddy Waters’ band and not with Jimmy Shand. (Norman Chalmers) Mike Whellans plays Old St Paul‘s Hall, Edinburgh on Fri 27 and Birgidale Complex, Glasgow on Sat 28.

-1( 3,» I

out of practice,’ Boo Hewerdine

{told me in February, when ’lgnorance’,

his first solo album, was released. He

9 was actually talking about interviews. “I was convinced I was going to rant at you, artistic slogans and stall. Instead,

I’m just sitting here, smoking a cigarette.’

Such mellowness probably played a great part in keeping his old group, the widely-acclaimed The Bible, together beyond the point of uselulness. Compromise became a way ol lite, and the group disbanded alter their third album. ‘I didn’t like it,’ he stated

.‘lgnorance’ is bliss

simply. ’ltwastoo poppy.’

He was, however, quick to praise The Liberty Horses, the band that the other Bible-bashers went on to form. ’They’re really good, much better than The Bible. And on Rough Trade they don't leel any compulsion to be champion pop stars.’ They are all still

lriends, and The Liberty Horses played on the same bill as the solo Hewerdine in London not long after we spoke.

A strong, appealing, acoustic-based album, its basic tracks recorded when he had enough money to hire Dave Stewart's studio for one day, ‘lgnorance' is the LP that Hewerdine pestered his record company to let him make while he kept body and soul together by producing Laurie Freelove, writing for Clive Gregson and working on material with Eddi Header and Garden Smith. The latter association opened some doors and probably raised a lew eyebrows, since Hewerdine views country music as ’mostly tosh’. But the stetson-sporting singer, he explained, ‘isn’t a country singer anyway. It’s just that he’s from Texas. It’s extremely lrustrating for him, because I don’t think he’s got a single country record in his house. He can’t bear it. I like it more than him.’ (Alastair Mabbott)

Sight and sound

If you find yourself wondering what to do on

3 Sunday afternoonsbut can't quite tnake upyour mind between something

for the ear or something for the eye. then the new series of concerts at the Burrcll (‘ollcction running through to mid-June could provide the answer. with their 3pm time slot providing ample opportunity to view the Collection beforehand. Over the course of eleven concerts. the Alma String Quartet. ('sardas

and the Telemann lznsemble present a wide-ranging programme

ranging from baroque classics to Burt Bacharach. There is nothing at all heavy in the series. As Sheila Osborne. administrator and mezzo with (‘sardas. a trioof voice. violin and piano.

explains. ‘We want to

reach the man in the street. There are. for instance. so many adverts using famous classical music that we felt we could construct a programme in a similar way. Vivaldi. Mozart etc etc. are reaching more cars and now. through Pavarotti. rough wee boys in the street are singing l’uccini. I actually have my own phrase for it sailing on the Nessun Dorma tide.‘

As the name suggests. however. (‘sardas' (pronounced Char-dash) programmes also have something of the gypsy about them. the concert on 3 May taking 'l’lay (iypsy ' as its title. Tunes covering a multitude of emotions from wild abandon to melancholy or hot-blooded passion from (armen. Dvorak and balalaika melodies form its content.

"To quote Alan Bennett' says ()sborne. ‘people like what they know. but there

will be less well-known

music in our first programme. ‘\'oicesof Spring'. on 5 April. which has been designed with a

seasonal theme in mind."

What ()sborne would prefer not to be seasonal is the series itself. w hich she hopes will become a permanent feature in the Burrell's activities. ((‘arol Main)

Music u! the Burrell opens on Sun 2‘) H'tt/l l/lt'rl/"lu

Boo Hewerdine plays with The Katydids !

at King Tut’s, Glasgow on Fri 3.

String Quartet and continues every Sunday tutti! HJune.