Back To The Planet: squatter mates?
The revolution will not be televised. But you might be able to get it on mail order cassette. Or go to one of them squatland party thingies. you might get a copy there. Steadily. underground rumblings have become tangible tremors in the real world. where college kids attend tightly-organised gigs. mosh a bit. buy the T-shirt. go home and listen to the free ﬂexi sampler of the new album given away to the ﬁrst hundred through the door.
Back To The Planet have had no recourse to that type of promotional grind. Their synthesis of ska. dub. pop and electro-ambience has been organically nourished by spontaneous appearances. first at London's squat parties. then as their proﬁle grew. at free raves and festivals. including last summer's infamous but exhilarating Castlemorton throng where the authorities were taken unawares by the gargantuan pow-wow of travellers and ravers. It‘s to here, straddling a surfeit of musical tribes. from 60s hippy ethics to early 80s ska-pop to 90s techno. that Back To The Planet gravitate.
Having taken the cottage industry as far as it will go. they're ready to break into the collective consciousness of the T-shirt generation. and it‘s to such impressionable minors that their new single ‘Teenage Turtles‘ is directed. ‘lt‘s about misuse of money and how children are brainwashed by media and advertising into buying things for the sake of it.‘ says singer Fil of the ﬁrst fruits of a new deal with London Records. Which doesn’t make the band corporate rock whores. It just means you don‘t have to rendezvous in a wind-whipped ﬁeld in Berkshire to acquire a copy which you then have to share with your circle of squatter mates. (Fiona Shepherd)
Back To The Planet play The Venue. Edinburgh on Fri 2 and The Cathouse. Glasgow on Sat 3.
Born again brass
Kenny Mathieson investigates how the The Rebirth Brass Band have blown away the cobwebs from a venerable tradition.
Young. funky. street-wise and sassy. The Rebirth Brass Band are out to make you dance and shout. They are the irreverent new face of the oldest of all jazz traditions. that of the New Orleans Marching Band. Once an integral part of the city‘s social as well as musical life. the marching band had all but dwindled from sight until the late 70s. when a revival of the music in the wake of the success of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band gave new impetus to the form.
The Rebirth are the youngest. most eclectic. and most downright exciting of all the current crop of bands. They have resisted any temptation to simply replicate the historical repertoire and style of the classic marching bands. Instead, they have set out to create a new New Orleans sound which is at once ancient and modern. and encompasses a potent mix of jazz, blues, R&B, soul, funk. reggae. and rap. And that’s just for starters.
‘Our music comes from the streets,’ says Rebirth’s 25-year-old leader and monster tuba player, Philip Frazier. ‘The old brass bands played a lot of jazz standards. and we do some of them too. but we wanted to grab the attention of kids our own age in the music. so naturally we turned to stuff that we had grown up with. and tried to make music that everybody could understand and relate to. with the traditional sounds and the new sounds all balled up together.
‘We try to get a whole lot ofenergy
going through the music. and if we can get the people dancing and shouting. they send that energy back to us. A lot of the older-timers thought we were disrespecting the traditions of the music. but all we are trying to do is to get the younger generation interested in jazz again.‘
Rebirth‘s irresistibly energetic. stylishly brash revitalisation of the brass band tradition has brought new life to a hallowed but too often hackneyed form. The band ﬁnd their material all over the place; their new disc, Take It To the Streets (Roundup Records), has a classic jump-jive medley alongside tunes by Herbie Hancock. Rick James, Darryl Adams. and Steel Pulse.
Other Rebirth tunes have less obvious origins. Their popular hit ‘Do Whatcha Wanna‘ came from a street-corner chant. while ‘Talk That Shit Now‘ grew out of a chant they heard at an American football game involving their local team. the New Orleans Saints. Their anthemic anti-crack paean ‘Leave That Pipe Alone’ emerged in response to the number of funerals from crack- related deaths at which they were asked to play.
The core membership of the band has shuffled around a bit since they first got together as kids in school back in the early 80s. The band touring this time features Philip Frazier on tuba. Kermit
Rufﬁns (who doubles on lead vocals) and Derrick Shelbie on trumpets. Stafford Agee on trombone. Roderick Paulin on saxophone. and Philip‘s brother. Keith Frazier. on bass drum and percussion. The band often expand from this basic concert line-up for recordings. and especially for street parades.
If the Rebirth Brass Band guarantee excitement as well as unpredictability. the former quality will also be much in evidence when Cuban band lrakere return to Glasgow at the beginning of April. A product of another long- standing tradition. the mix between Afro-Cuban rhythms and bebop soloing which the late Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo pioneered in the 40s. the ten-piece band are an electrifyineg colourful. exuberant outfit.
The irony is that both these groups — and especially Rebirth -- are likely to have a really strong appeal to people who do not usually attend jazz concerts. and it would be a shame if anyone missed out on the action on those grounds.
The Rebirth Brass Band are at The C it)‘ Hall. Glasgow on Thurs 25. The Queen's Hall. Edinburgh on Fri 26. The Music Hall. Aberdeen on Sat 27 and The Salutation Hotel. Perth on Sun 28. lrakere are at The City Hall. Glasgow on Sat 3.
mam:- Mary’s Mass
llo doubt history in schools these days has managed to shake oft Its old dry image, but making music history come alive in a way that promises to be positively enjoyable is Cappella llova with their Mary. Queen of Scots concerts. Mary. who lived between 1542 and 1587, when she was beheaded by her cousin Elizabeth I, was the daughter oi James V and lived through one ot‘the most dramatic and turbulent periods of Scottish history. As Alan Tavener, director 01 Cappella llova explains. “By the time of Mary’s return to Scotland from France in 1561, the Protestant ltlrlr service was in situ, but there are accounts of her calling In servers and having Mass,
possibly even on the same day. We know tor sure that she celebrated Mass on St Bartholomew’s Day, 24 August, in 1561 .’ This means it is conceivable that Mary may have heard the ‘Slx Part Mass’, attributed to llobert Carver. which tom the second hall of Cappella llova’s programme. Where she may have celebrated Mass
is less clear. Manager of the choir, Rebecca Tavener says, ‘From the little I know. the Chapel lloyal in Edinburgh was somewhere on the lloyal Mile, possibly the site ol the Canongate Kirk. but it’s all a bit nebulous.’
The concert is not intended to be an exact replica of an occasion, but rather to re-create the atmosphere of Mary’s troubled times. The tirst part will consist of psalm-settings and anthems written by Scottish composers, in the Scots vernacular, tor the Protestant church. The concert also includes a special appearance by Tom Fleming who reads trom the writings of John ltnox and the lloman Catholic apologist llinian Winyate. (Carol Main)
Cappella llova play the Episcopal Church oi St Mary the Virgin, Glasgow on Fri 27 and Creylriars ltirlr, Edinburgh on Sat 28.
28 The List 26 March-8 April I993