DIE- ; rnvsrm ME l
nick lee and Hamish Moore
Glasgow looks forward to a couple of weeks dense with folk music in all its forms, from the sophisticated Showmanship and polished performance of Capercaillie at the Barrowland to the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland’s traditional unaccompanied singing competitions as part of this year's Glasgow Tryst.
Not in the printed programme. but part of the music-making down in Merchant City, Hamish Moore and Dick Lee play a lunchtime concert of their iconoclastic bagpipe and jazz reeds music, including tnuch from their latest album. Farewell To Decormn. a too genteel title for an uncompromising aural attack on perceived boundaries of form and taste.
A personal recommendation from the surfeit of talent on offer over the week-long Tryst would be the Irish and Scots Gaelic concert shared by Northern Ireland’s La Lugh. beautiful young Lewis singer Eilidh MacKenzie and the celebrated vocal/ accordion and keyboards partnership of Skye‘s ‘ Arthur Cormack and Blair I Douglas.
Singer and ﬂute player with La Lugh. Eithne Ni I Uallachain is renowned l for her delicate E
performance of the Gaelic songs of her Ulster background. The instrumental sets are driven along by the i ﬂowing fiddle and rarely- heard repertoire of Gerry O‘Connor. With Seanie McPhail on guitar and vocals and Martin O'Hare on traditional percussion of bodhran and bones. the line-up is completed by Clare O'Donoghue on the cello. Once a regular partner of the violin in dance bands. it’s great to see the big fiddle again appearing regularly in consort with its smaller brother and reclaiming its valuable place in traditional music-making. (Norman Chalmers)
The Glasgow Tryst runs Tue 23—510: 28. See Folk listings.
ura- Guru, method, teacher
He was the leading light of Gang Starr. Now, as Philip Dorward relates, rapper Guru is forging links with jazz to enlighten the masses.
It started off as an experiment. just
Keith Elan (Guru) phoning up a few friends and ﬁnding out what they
i thought ofthe idea of an album fusing
jazz and hip hop. He enlisted the help of classic jazz artists Lonnie Liston
Smith. Roy Ayers and Donald Byrd. He i _? similarities of hip hop and jazz: both
i have their own cultures and both came out from the urban experience. the
3 black experience.‘
borrowed the contemporary jazz talents of Courtney Pine and Ronny Jordan. He encapsulated some of the finest female vocals in the world courtesy of DC. Lee. N'Dea Davenport and
Carleen Anderson. He trod where many
feared he shouldn't. into the world of classic jazz.
The idea of Jazzamamzz was classically simple. to perform live jazz over a breakbeat and a bassline. Onstage it‘s not classic. don‘t expect a drummer and a bass player — that‘s not
Guru‘s Jazzamatazz. He has a
tumtable-orientatcd background. so he has that as his percussionist and some musicians to jam with. The project has taken the respect accorded to Guru amongst the hip hop fraternity on to a new plane. and brought jazz back into the forefront of youth. Despite this. or
: maybe because of it. traditional jazz ‘ purists have treated Jazzamalazz as ' second-class. showing only tepid
appreciation. This. however. bothers him little. ‘I couldn‘t care less. I brought
7 people’s names back up. Jazz has been
too elitist for too long. I was talking to Donald and what he felt of the jazz purist and he said. “Man you can‘t be
concerned with them. if it feels right do
it.“ That was my attitude anyway. but it
i was cool that he said the same thing. It
helped conﬁrm my belief about the
It’s the urban. black experience that Guru knows best. College-educated. he hails from Brooklyn. knows the people
I who live there and knows how they
live. The adroitness of his lyrics of Jazzumamzz or any Gang Starr album
prove that he is well-placed to voice the fears of African-Americans. His weapon ofexpression is the speech
itself. ‘Rap music is the voice of urban
youth. like CNN. we are the mirror of . what we see and how we feel.‘ he ; claims. unequivocally. ‘Rap started in i the Bronx as the gangs ended: the brothers left the negativity ofthe street . and tuned it into something more i positive. It started withjust two turntables and a mike and it‘s now a ? multi-billion dollar industry. one ofthe ' most provocative forms of music in the world.‘
Guru believes rap is at its most
. provocative when it is educating. ln ‘Down The Backstreets'. on
Jazzamamzz. Guru claims, ‘We stay
: true. we always stay with our minds in
the street. concrete like the gravel.‘ As
Donald Byrd is an educator ofjazz. so 9 the original old-school rappers like
Rakim. Run DMC, EPMD and Guru are now the teachers front the street. Or are they? Every urban kid wants to shoot ball for his team. Every urban kid wants to be an MC. Every urban kid wants money in his pocket. quickly. In reality. few kids make it into the rap business. even fewer still get to ‘be like Mike'. In reality. the hustler is adored as much as rap and sports stars. In reality. if the kid is given the choice of earning $5 an hour in McDonald's or $500 an hour selling crack. which one do you think he is going to choose?
‘Exactly.‘ Guru agrees. ‘But that has to do with the education system. The American system is not geared to helping the urban child. The teachers are not motivated because their salary is so poor. The real creative teachers are like me. I’m a musician. It‘s up to people like me to teach kids that there's more to life than instant gratification. Everything on TV is material. we‘ve lost the sense of family. the sense that you gotta work hard to earn.‘
It seems only right that jazz should be making a comeback in these conditions. It seems only right that the music should be accompanied by lyrics that mean something. It seems only right that Guru should be graced by the presence of your eyes and ears.
Guru plays the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on Wed 1.
; May ﬂower
' While male iazz singers remain
something of a rarity on the British jazz scene, there seems to be no shortage of women ready to take on the challenge. It would be wrong to put a ‘latest contender’ tag on Tina May, since she has been around for a while (she began singing in public as a student at Cardiff University in 1981), but she has made a big push in the past couple of years.
The most obvious manifestation of that effort have been two well- received albums, ‘llever Let Me 60’ (1991) and ‘Fun’ (1993), both on the 33 Records label she shares with her husband, drummer Clark Tracey, who has a production credit as well as occupying the drum chair on both albums.
with an impressive vocal range, although I have to admit to certain
They reveal an accomplished singer reservations about her singing - she
has a tendency occasionally to over- reach herself, and does not always sound fully in control in the upper register — which are not shared by the highly-favourable reviews the discs have received.
She has a good ear for a song, however, and for the right people to play them. Her first Scottish tour (part of a substantial Illt package which follows hard on the heels of gigs in Australia and llong Kong) will be accomplished without Clark, but with the other two members of the recording trio, pianist David llewton and bassist nave Green, augmented by tendon-based Scottish drummer Bobby Orr. The albums also feature saxman lion Weller (on both) and trumpeter Gerard Presencer (on ‘Fun’), but the gigs will give us a fair idea of what she can do In a classic trio context. (Kenny Mathleson)
Tina May plays at The Tron Ceilidh Ilouse in Edinburgh on Tue 23.
30 The List 19 November—2 December I993