Making Music Happen
_ Guy with the horn
Kenny Mathieson talks to British trumpet star Guy Barker.
When Guy Barker takes the stage at the Queen‘s Hall with his new band for the ﬁrst time. it will mark a long- overdue debut in Scotland for the brilliant trumpeter. Barker is no stranger to Scottish stages. but this will be the ﬁrst time he has led his own band in a major concert north ofthe border.
Barker is best known in these parts as a member of drummer Clark Tracey‘s long running. contemporary bop quintet. and he has also been a regular member of the sextet. octet and big band led by Clark‘s distinguished dad. pianist Stan Tracey. He has played in big hands led by the late Gil Evans. both in New York and Europe. and is now a regular in Carla Bley's Big Band.
More recent developments have seen him link up in a duo with pianist Brian Kellock. and a rather more high-proﬁle membership of saxophonist Tommy Smith‘s excellent sextet. A further development on the latter front seems likely. which will please the trumpeter no end.
‘I really enjoyed the project with Tommy — that was serious music. and it was a great challenge. I suppose I was involved in Clark‘s band longer than any other. but in the end he reached a point where he simply felt that he could not really do anything more with the band. and I had to agree that he was right at that time. We had been playing for eight years. and did three albums. but we all needed something fresh. We might get together again for some gigs in the autumn. though. because that will be the tenth anniversary of the formation of the band.‘
Barker began playing on comet at the age oftwelve, but his interestin jazz was sparked when his dad brought home a record featuring the celebrated Duke Ellington trumpeter Rex Stewart. That exposure brought the youthful brass band player up short (‘1 could hardly believe that he was making these fantastic sounds on the same instrument as I played'). and a subsequent introduction to the work of Louis
I Tarn White's Eco-Drive Band and Suzanne Bonnar and ller Trio Queen's Hall. Clerk Street. 668 2019. 8.30pm. £9.50. £8 (£4). A home-based double bill of singers to launch Kind ofBlue in appropriately blues-tinged fashion. Tam White introduces a new group (see preview). while Suzanne Bonnar reverts to a trio setting following her recent experiments with Swing ‘94. featuring Brian Kellock on piano. Ronnie Rae on bass. and Tom Bancroft on drums. Blues
FRIDAY 27 . ‘
Armstrong sealed his fate in terms of musical direction.
He trained classically at the Royal School of Music. a grounding which left him with a superb technique, but did not divert him from his chosen course. That technical facility made him much in demand for session work. both on albums by Sting and Paul Young. and for a variety of television advertising themes and the like. but there was never any question over what took precedence.
‘If you take on session work, you have to approach it with the same kind of professionalism that you would bring to your own music. I‘ve done a lot of sessions. but my heart deﬁnitely lies in thejazz work. and I have often turned down sessions to play jazz for a quarter ofthe fee, even when I may have needed the money.‘
lfStewart and Armstrong provided his initial stimulus, he is stylistically closer to the great bop trumpeters like Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan. but with distinctly contemporary overtones. He
fans can also avail themselves of a special ticket offer for tomorrow‘s gig with Catﬁsh Keith and Dick Wardell — see below for details.
I Peter Brotmann and Willi Keller: Stepping Stones. 112 West Bow. Grassmarket. 668 2019. 8pm. £6.50 (£4). Brotzmann has been responsible for some of the major documents of European free improvisation, from his own searing masterpiece Machine Gun (1968) through to the stellar Euro-American quartet Last Exit. Not for the faint-hearted. but anyone with an interest in the ﬁery end of avant- garde jazz and free improvisation will
KIND OF BLUE
, Buy Barker is a voracious listener to jazz. ‘both for pleasure and to learn’. and regularly checks out new recordings, especially ‘the players emerging on the New York scene'.
The Kind ufB/ue concert will mark the debut of his new band. Bassist Alec Dankworth survives from his earlier London-based groups, but the fact that ‘in London the same musicians tean to play with each other all the time’ encouraged him to look further aﬁeld for Icelandic alto saxophonist Siggi Flosason. Portuguese pianist Bernardo Sassetti, and Irish drummer Conor Guilfoyle.
‘The music will probably fall into the contemporary bop area. but to be honest, we won't really know exactly what we will be doing until we get together, so there may be a few surprises for all of us. I've been writing quite a bit for the group. though. and this is a band I would deﬁnitely like to try and develop further.’
The Guy Barker Quintet play the Queen is Hall on Sat 28.
want to catch this rare opportunity to sample the mighty saxophonist in full. turbulent ﬂow in a duet with drummer Willi Kellars.
SATURDAY 28 Edinburgh
I Buy Better Quintet and Jason iiebello Queen's Hall, Clerk Street. 668 2019. 8.30pm. £8.50, £6.50 (£4). A double-bill focusing on two of the more exciting musicians on the British jazz scene. with trumpeter Guy Barker leading his latest (and distinctly European-ﬂavoured) bop-
rooted quintet — with Siggi Flosason (sax). Bernardo Sassetti (piano). Alec Dankworth (bass), and Conor Guilfoyle (drums) — for the ﬁrst time in a major concert in Scotland, and a rare solo set from pianist Jason Rebello. See preview. I Catfish Keith and Dick Wardell The Studios. BBC Broadcasting House. 5 Queen Street. 668 2019. 8pm. £6.50 (£4). A double treat of acoustic guitar and vocals for blues fans. and a special offer to boot — buy an £8 ticket for Tam White on Fri 27, and you can also have a ticket for this concert for only £3. Sounds almost as good as the Delta-inspired country blues you will hear from this pair.
I Abdullah Ibrahim Queen's Hall. Clerk Street. 668 2019. 8.30pm. £9.50. £8 (£4). South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahint returns to Edinburgh for a solo set of his distinctive Township-influenced jazz. See preview.
I louis Sclavis—Dominique Pifarer Acoustic Quartet The Studios. BBC Broadcasting House. 5 Queen Street, 668 2019. 8pm. £7.50 (£4). It‘s a shame this runs opposite Abdullah Ibrahim. because for my money the visit of this French quartet is the most intriguing gig in the Kind ufBlue programme. Louis Sclavis is one of the leading innovators on both clarinet and bass clarinet in contemporary European jazz. and his presence here provides a link with the memorable visit of IIARFI to last year's festival. since Sclavis was one of the original members of the Lyon-based collective. He is joined by violinist Dominique Pifarely. another exciting musician who is not well enough known over here (although he has worked with the Mike Westbrook Orchestra). the excellent Marc Ducret on guitar. and Bruno Chevillon on bass. Their recent exploratory ECM (‘1), simply entitled Acoustic Quartet, augurs very well indeed for this appearance.
Dates listed below are for one-oil shows: see separate section for residencies. Gigs are listed by date, then by city. Performances will be listed, provided that details reach our ottices at least one week betore publication. Jan listings compiled by Kenny Mathieson.
I McCoy Tyner Solo and Big Band Queen's Hall. Clerk Street. 668 2019. 8.30pm. £7.50, £12.50 (£5). Pianist McCoy Tyner returns with a tasty double- header to close the Silk Cut City Jazz series. with a solo set followed by his exciting big band. See preview.
I Hermon X The l3th Note. 80 Glassford Street. venue 553 1638; info 887 4733. 9.30pm. £4 (£3). This lively eight-piece outﬁt offer their own particular take on Salsa. Latin and Afro-derived music. Chiefjazz. cred comes from trumpeter Robert Henderson. with Fred MacMillan on guitar. Nick Pamtheleon on keyboards. Dan Roberts on bass. Chimp, lid and Tasos on various drums and percussion. and singer Elena Coyle. Already a popular draw at this venue. and space is tight.
Tennents Live! Making Music Happen
45 The List 20 May—2 June 1994