I They may not be haunting the auction rooms yet, but Wet Wet Wet are moving, in their own small way, into the art market. St Clair Studios in Glasgow has been bought up by Wets' management The Precious Organisation and renamed The Brill Building after the Mecca of Tin Pan Alley. As a gesture of support to local painting talent. pictures by members of the Glasgow artists’ group WASPS have been hung in the lounge area free of charge. where they can be perused by the clients. Already, the Wets’ Graham Clark has bought the ‘Rothko-influenced’ Meridien One by painter Carol Cronin, and it’s thought that some of the ‘name’ bands using the facilities may soon follow his example.

I The albums-based Scottish Chart Show is returning on 23 March and this time is scheduled for a three-year run. Previously shown at the prime pub time of 8pm on Fridays, the programme has now been fixed at a more viewer-friendly 5.15pm on Wednesdays and will also benefit from a sponsorship deal. The producer is Fiona White of N8, who intends that The Scottish Chart Show will reflect the difference in buying habits between Scotland and the rest of the country and thus give greater coverage to home grown artists. Presenters are currently being considered.

I PM you remember the old Demo Discos run by Tower Promotions in Glasgow a few years ago. Well. the idea is being revived by R&A Music (profiled in the last List) for 8.30pm on Sunday nights at the Grand Central_B__ar_,_as of Sun 30. Unlike the previous incarnation, there are no live acts, but punters get to vote for their favourites among the demo tracks that are aired in the course of the evening. R&A are looking for demos to play. so send your mini- masterpieces to Suite iiYZH, 36 Washington Street, Glasgow G3 8A2.

Kenny 8‘

lie numbers America’s first saxophone-playing President since luster Young among his fans, but even Bill Clinton’s hornman-to-hornman stamp of approval does nothing to diminish the doubts about the depth of Kenny C‘s work. lle looks every inch a media creation, with the sweet good- looks and blandly inoffensive music of your average mlddle-of-the-road, adult-orientated rocker.

What he has done, however, is succeed in crossing over a wide range of audiences, from the fusion side of

[an to sophisticated rock, without having to be a singer. Major artists who specialise only on their instruments are a real rarity in rock, and all the more so if they don’t play guitar, or even piano.

Kenny G is not wholly without precedent, of course. Arguably, llavld Sanborn already travelled a large part of that road, moving from [an into big- name rock and back on the strength oi his muscular but not very distinctive tenor saxophone playing. Sanbom has been more readily accepted by the ian fraternity, however, and his music has generally revealed a lot more grit and grease than anything I have heard lrom Kenny G. llis sweet-toned, glibly unforced playing makes few demands on the audience, and that may be the key to his popularity in the USA, where there is a huge audience for music which offers a safe cornbinatlon of easy listening with apparent musicianship.

Clarence Clemmons notwithstanding, the saxophone, while king in ian and at least prince in blues and funk, has always taken a back seat in the rock world, and it may be that Kenny G has hit upon a lucrative way of exploiting that largely untapped potential. Whether that makes for equally interesting listening ls another matter. ills slick records have never made much impression on me; maybe live it will be a different story. (Kenny Mathieson)

Kenny C’s concert at Glasgow lloyal

, Concert llall on Fri 28 is sold out.


Turning Japanese

In keeping with their proviso to promote the best in contemporary international classical repertoire, Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust have invited Yoshikazu lwarnoto, the Japanese shakuhachi virtuoso, to share the bill with Scotland’s Hebrides Ensemble at their next concert, ‘hlusic For Japan’, which aims to showcase the cross-fertilisation between contemporary Oriental and European styles of composition.

The llebrldes Ensemble perform two specially-commissioned world premieres - ‘All That She Wants’ by llebecca Saunders, an Edinburgh University graduate currently studying in Germany, and ‘llots And lines’ from eminent Japanese composer Jo Kondo, whose ‘lllgh Song’ for the unusual combination of soprano flute and shakuhachi will be rendered by Yoshikazu and liosemary Eliot, principal flautist with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

This concert marks Yoshlrazu’s first public performance in Scotland, beyond leading school workshop demonstrations. Currently a Fellow in Japanese Music at York University, he has been playing the shdruhachl, a Japanese buboo flute, for 30 years.

‘ldy elder brother had been playing tlmlnstruentforalongtlmebeforel got lnterested,’ he says, ‘so he gave me initial lessons for seven years, then I started official study with some old masters.’

Tire shakuhachi was ilrst imported into Japan in the 7th century from

Yoshlkazu lwarnoto

mainland China for use in the Cagaku court orchestra, before being adopted by musicians of all social classes as an independent instrument. lts history is linked with the practice of len Buddhism, and Yoshikazu seeks to preserve its spiritual associations while tiring the instrument forward and encouraging Western composers to expand its chanber music repertoire.

‘lt's a very interesting boundary area,’ he says. ‘llnce a European composer picks up a non-European instrument like the shakuhachi, his way of thinking musically has to be renewed. The composer has to have a new insight into the instrument, into music, into what he does himself, so it’s a good mirror for thinking about one’s own musical activity.’ (Fiona Shepherd)

The llebrldes Ensemble and Yoshikazu lwumoto play The ilueen’s ilall, Edinburgh on Vlad 2.

Water on the brain

Carol Main discovers that the ancient notion of the four elements is still providing creative inspiration.

Taking the back to basics message just about as far back as it can possibly go, both the BT Scottish Ensemble and the Chamber Group of Scotland look to The Elements as the inspiration for their concerts this month. The Chamber Group, with works by James MacMillan, John Cage and Nigel Osborne, among others focus on Earth, in the first of a series of programmes which takes each of the elements in turn. The Scottish Ensemble, however, have opted for all of them in one go and have commissioned their new and first composer-in-residence Dave Heath to write a work called, simply, The Four Elements. Previously based in North London and now living in Collessie in Fife, where his four-year- old son can’t believe the number of trees, Heath is clearly delighted with his new home and new post. ‘lt involves writing two big pieces and four or five encore-type pieces each year, as well as playing with the Ensemble and getting involved with

36 The List 28 January-10 February 1994