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Bob Brookmeyer: close to the ‘bone

The Danish Radio Big 1 Band are familiar visitors I to Scotland. where they ' have toured on an almost l annual basis in recent years. Any chance that ' familiarity might begin to , breed indifference is l deflected not only by the l quality of the band itself. but also by the fact that they invariably come up with fascinating new guests.

This year is no i exception. with I saxophonist Tony Coe l joining the band as a soloist; and trombonist. arranger and composer Bob Brookmeyer conducting some of his own charts. He follows the likes of Ernie Wilkins and Rob McConnell. but the DRBB's association with American jazz musicians goes back to their inception. and includes a particularly fruitful relationship with the late Thad Jones.

Like Charlie Parker, Brooktneyer is from Kansas City. where be trained at the local conservatory. initially as a pianist before taking up valve trombone in 1952. While Parker carved out the ground rules for bop. Brookmeyer took the cooler west coast route. and took over from Chet Baker in Gerry Mulligan‘s quartet in 1953.

He continued to play piano (his duet album with Bill Evans. The Ivory Hunters, was re-issued by Blue Note last year). and co-led a successful small group with Clark Terry. Already a distinguished soloist. his association with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band in I965 began his development as a gifted arranger and composer.

He moved to Europe in the late 80s. and will have his first opera premiered in Germany next year. His recent Electricity album reflects what he sees as a process of ‘growing more patient in my work. and taking longer to expose and develop my ideas to bring out more meaning.‘ (Kenny Mathieson)

The Danish Radio Big Band play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Sat 4 and the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Sun 5.

35 The List 24 Feb-9 Mar 1995

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_ law 5' f *IN“ ' - . ,3, .rfiw Dub War: ‘heavy reggae lollop‘

0n Dub War’s ginormous debut album, ‘Pain’, there’s plenty duelling guitar

activity, be it of the hardcore, rap-

| metal or funk-metal variety. So that might account for the ‘War’ angle, but the ‘Ilub’ is decidedly thin on the ground.

It doesn’t take long to grasp the Dub War concept - hectic guitar onslaught and thunderous rhythms - and the prospect of a lazy, spliffed-out, shuddering beat doesn’t really ; compute. Stand-out tracks like ‘Bespected’ and ‘Hations’ are infused with a heavy reggae lollop, and soulful singer Benji adds frenzied ragga rants and a larynx that reaches for the sky (just like Carl Anderson in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, kitsch trivia fans) but no, dub does not immediately

advertise its presence.

However, bassist and founder member Richie Glover has only had a few hours’ recovery time following an all-night tequila slamming session and is in no position to ponder the metaphysical implications of the band’s name and its appropriateness or otherwise.

‘Where are we? Ninety-five now, isn’t it? We started off in early ’93. Is that right? Hang on, I’m getting mixed up here. Yeah, we:

The addition of Benji to the line-up elevated Dub War beyond the realms of the punky power trio genre spewed out by their native Newport with some regularity. This much we glean from Richie before his ‘tequila belly’ claims his concentration.

Their debut EP appeared on a label run by an old schooltriend of Richie’s (‘He couldn’t believe it was me from school in a band’) and from there, gigging opportunities materialised, including a tour support with confirmed fans Manic Street Preachers.

What they’ve ended up with is probably no more original than what they’ve developed from, but as far as grafting various disparate musical styles on to a rock base goes, Dub War sound second only to Senser for rifting thrills. You will hear plenty other bands playing with the rap-metal rage thang, but few will produce a debut as earthquakingly visceral as ‘Pain’. (Fiona Shepherd)

Dub War play The Cathouse, Glasgow on Sun 5 and The Venue, Edinburgh on Tue 7.

CONTEMPORARY sing p p Balkan-style singing, electronics, specially-commissioned sculptures and Serbian poetry - a typically eclectic mix from Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust. This particular combination is the one used by composer Peter Nelson in his collaboration with visual artist Keith McIntyre in a new piece entitled ‘Games’. The title originates from poems by the Serbian writer Vasko Popa. ‘lt’s a little set of poems to do with children’s games,’ explains Peter Helson. ‘They’re sort of surreal and rather violent and are obviously standing for something rather more than what they say.’

In keeping with this Balkan background, Nelson has brought Balkan influence to the music. ‘l’ve used three female voices, a combination which is used a lot in Balkan folk music and they play voice games with each other. The singing is . very close together, both physically and In pitch. It’s a very strange style.’ Although it is difficult to find British singers who can cope with this particular style, ECAT have engaged Vocem, Electric Voice Theatre, who specialise In alternative vocal

techniques. Their Artistic Director ls Frances Lynch, a soprano acclaimed

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leaping ahead: one of Keith McIntyre’s sketches for the Vocem project

internationally for her work in music- theatre.

‘There will be a dramatic presentation to the piece because Frances has realised it in theatrical terms,’ explains Helson. The Edinburgh performance takes place in the Sculpture Court of the College of Art and Keith McIntyre’s sculptures are an integral part of the drama. He will also be drawing the piece as it unfolds and in turn this will be recorded on video. ‘lt’s really all about the psychology of warfare,’ says Helson, ‘the sort that children play themselves, but that adults do too . . .’ (Carol Main)

Vocem play Glasgow University Concert Hall on Fri 3 and Edinburgh College of Art on Sat 4.

Gene’s on

Have Gene really got this good in such a short space of time? marvels Craig McLean, whose conversion was as sudden and shocking as the loft’s in Shallow Grave.

We had every right to be suspicious. New band releases debut single on fresh indie label. The band sounds like The Smiths and the singer is priceless; the single sells out its limited pressing of 2000 immediately: the label is run by two prime-mover music journalists. The media coverage is at best rabid. at worst headless. A second single follows. Three weeks later, on 22 August. three months after the first single was released, they play their first Scottish date, at Edinburgh‘s La Belle Angele. They are rotten. an apalling mix of calculated posturing, masturbatory rifting, peacock strutting, streaky yodelling and pointless songs. it‘s the great rock ‘n‘ roll swindle. part umpteen. Give us back our lolly. Take away this Gene.

And lo, it came to pass that Gene kicked Doubting Thomas into touch. First there was the third single. ‘Sleep Well Tonight’. at three-track titan that found Gene exceeding the hype.

throwing off previous preciousness.

and shedding new perspective on their prior output ‘From The Dead‘ and