MUSIC PREVIEW DEE- l
AT THE HOP
Newcastle-based Folkworks. the award- winning organisation that promotes and supports the folk and traditional arts. had a major success last year with its Fiddles On Fire British tour. which brought together virtuoso players of traditional music on the violin from various world cultures. This year. Folkworks sends its Ceilidh Circus on the road.
A top dance band from Louisiana. France or New England is teamed with expert callers. favourite local bands and leading dance performance teams of cloggers. step dancers, morris or Irish. on a tour that starts in London and winds up in Glasgow a fortnight later.
The Big Hop. the main event ofthe tour. fills two dance spaces in Middlesbrough Town Hall with Grenoble band Dedale's Bourrees. Tasso‘s cajun two-steps. Rodney Miller‘s American square and contra dances and English accordion ace John Kirkpatrick‘s All Star Band.
The high hollerin' Louisiana French vocals. sawing fiddle and driving single-row melodeon defines the cajun style. a music which evolved with dance. Tasso are a youthful trio who have learned the tradition at home from the older masters and who are teamed with the relaxed approach to Scottish dancing of Edinburgh's Robert Fish Band and [ﬁsh dancers Clann Na Gael in a Cajun Ceilidh in Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms.
Edinburgh's Ceilidh Collective and the spectacular stepping and colour of the McLaughlin lrish Dance Team perform a week later in Glasgow‘s Henry Wood Hall with the finest fiddler of the tour. Rodney Miller.
Miller‘s Airplung and Airplmig 2 were hugely admired albums of the 80s. ln them. he stretched fiddle technique and style in an exuberant display of bravura playing. good taste and no little humour. Like Scots exile Alasdair Fraser. he revels in the root of all fiddle music. which is rhythm. and enjoys nothing more than
playing for dancing. giving lift to the music and the heart. (Norman Chalmers)
R()(lll(’_\' M lller and The Ceilidh Collective play the Henry Wuml Hull, Glusgmv ()II Sat 26; 721330
and The Robert F ish [3am]
play the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on Fri 18.
5 Rebirth of the
Kenny Mathieson considers the revival of the Hammond organ in jazz, and its most
, renowned player, Jimmy
It is highly appropriate that the most famous of all jazz Hammond organ
players. the great Jimmy Smith. should i be making a very rare visit to Scotland ; this month. Although by no means the
first to play it. Smith established the Hammond as a viable lead voice in jazz in the late 50s. and laid the ground rules for the soul-jazz organ sound taken up by the likes of Les McCann. Jimmy McGriff and Shirley Scott in the US. and Mike Carr and Georgie Fame over here.
Smith’s own mentor on the instrument was Wild Bill Davis (born. for lovers of trivia. in Glasgow. Missouri). one of the pioneers ofelectric organ in jazz. along with occasional dabblcrs like Fats Waller and Count Basic. and more regular exponents like Bill Doggett or
. Milt Buckner. Smith. though, took the instrument to a much wider audience
with his elemental fusion of bop and blues. and established a sophisticated playing style which became his trademark.
‘1 took up the Hammond organ in 1955 after hearing Wild Bill Davis play — I played piano before that. and I still practice on piano today. i played jazz all my life, and [just play the pure Hammond without all the effects and so
‘ on that you can do on modem
synthesizers that practically play it all for you — on the Hammond, you got to play the stuff.‘
The Hammond electric (and later electronic) organ was introduced by a man named Laurens Hammond in Chicago in 1935. and found an early use in churches and public halls. lts popularity in both jazz and rock peaked in the 60s, when Smith was still making a series of classic albums for Blue Note (he has recently returned to the label for the newly-released The Master. but his next album will be for Verve. with ‘the trumpet player Roy Hargrove and some of those other young cats‘).
The soul-jazz style had hardened into a mannerism by that stage. and few players were ready to follow the example of the brilliant Larry Young (who later took the name Khaled Yasin) and take the organ into the freer contemporary styles ofthe period.
The instrument retained serious cult status among its devotees. but was largely superceded by more modem developments in electronic keyboards. Recently. though. that has all started to change. Saxophonist Gary Thomas arrived here in August with a Hammond organ in his exploratory
Jimmy Smith and the Hammond band. explaining that the instrument had been associated with what the j Americans call ‘the chitlin‘ circuit' (the kind of kitsch showbiz cabaret found in resorts and the like) for too long. and i was now ripe for rediscovery. Organ trios are coming out of the woodwork all over the place. and the instrument is again finding its way into bigger groups as well. In recent months ; in Edinburgh alone. we have seen the | Hammond in a variety of contexts. ' from bands led by Tam White and i
Georgie Fame through to James Taylor. a recent pioneer of the revamped Hammond sound in the UK and a big 3 name on the acid jazz circuit. and 2 Thomas. The most recent sighting came this month at the Tron. where Ed Bentley of the excellent Blue Note Quartet revealed that Smith is still exerting a powerful influence on Hammond players. The great man himself blows in for one date with his quartet as part of a European tour. and is set to go into the studio in Paris with singer Dee Dee l Bridgewater to cut an album of Horace Silver tunes later in the year. , The Jimmy Smith Quartet play The Queen '3' Hull. lz‘rlinburg/I on Wed 23. ‘
Wind of change
Until recently, it would be fair to say
the Royal Scottish National Orchestra
was not noted for its outreach and
educational work. That situation is ; changing, in a big way. In her post for
just over a year, RSlIO Education Manager llaheed Cruikshank has several small projects under her belt,
with the first large-scale project,
‘Echoes Of South Africa’, reaching fruition at the end of this month. Led by South African drummer and composer Eugene Skeet, the project involves not only musicians from the orchestra but the RSNO Junior Chorus,
1 pupils from Anderston and
7 Kelvinhaugh Primary Schools,
Woodside Secondary and service , users from the Robert Owen and
Larkhall Resource Centres. ‘It is the best work I’ve done in my
v fourteen years of living in the UK,’
1 says Skeef. There are two main
reasons for this, he explains. ‘Firstly, 3 Naheed is such a very inspired person - it’s not like with some orchestras
who do the work so they get the grant - and she’s been able to commission a piece from me so that I’ve had a free rein. And the second reason is that the Scottish people are very responsive, very warm; direct and open in a way that reminds me of my own background in South Africa.’
For the fifteen RSNO players involved, Skeef’s work has been something of a new experience. The commission, ‘Spirit Of The Drum-Song’, has meant unlearning some of their
Eugene Skeef conducts the proceedings 5
Western skills. ‘Imagine the scenario of the RSNO playing outside in South 3 Africa,’ says Skeet. The wind blows ' their scores away and they are left without music. A lot of Western musicians simply can’t play off the cuff and we have to reintroduce them to the human natural ability to hear intervals, melodies and to listen to each other.’ (Carol Main)
The RSNO play ‘Echoes Of South Africa’ at The Tramway, Glasgow on Sun 27.
34 The List 18 November—l December I994