COMING DF AGE
Coiffed to bits: the new-look James Calway It is difficult to imagine musical life without it, but before 1974 there was no Scottish Chamber Orchestra as we know it. in celebration of its 2 lst birthday and the remarkable list of wide- ranging achievements it has notched up. the SCO presents a special gala concert at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Tue 28. Leading contemporary composers are now part and parcel of the orchestra's life and this aspect is reﬂected in the world premiere of a new brass quintet by Affiliate Composer. James MacMillan. to be performed by one of the orchestra‘s small ensembles. SCO Brass. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies is another composer who enjoys a special relationship with the orchestra — his ten Strathclyde Concertos for the SCO have given a particularly close bond and remain a unique and exemplary commissioning project — and is proud to 'be its Composer Laureate. One of his most popular works. An Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise also features on the birthday programme. Other illustrious names taking part in the concert are James Galway. one of the orchestra's most popular soloists. in Mozart's Flute Concerto No I. conducted by Chief Guest Conductor. Charles Mackerras. Unlike most other orchestras. the SCO does not have an overall musical or artistic director. but up at the top of the notepaper is lvor Bolton with the title of Chief Conductor and he's there at the Usher Hall too. directing Bach‘s Brandenburg Concerto No I from the harpsichord. And as if all that wasn‘t enough. the concert closes in spectacular style with Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks accompanied by an indoor firework display. Happy Birthday SCO! (Carol Main) The SC 0 performs at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Tuesday 28.
Deana Carter: country, but don’t tell anybody
Slotting a new artist into a major- name tour is a well-worn tactic for
grabbing instant exposure. Singer-
songwriter Deana Carter gets the
treatment when she supports Jimmy
? Hail on the back of her debut album, ‘Did I Shave My Legs For This?’
(EMl/Patriot), a collection of songs which vacillates between straight country and a more pop-based
approach. Carter admits she doesn’t
l want to be tagged as out-and-out country, which is maybe a little odd
for someone whose dad was the great Nashville session guitarist, Fred Carter, Jr.
‘I responded to singer-songwriters, but I never really listened to country until about four years ago, by which time it had already broadened out to include a lot of the kind of styles I liked anyway. For a while, though, I was trying too hard to be pop - I thought I’d be happier living in flew York or LA and not being at all Nashville, but I wasn’t really being myself, and it showed.’
However she is categorised, there seems little doubt that country lies at the heart of what she does, and the best tracks on the album are those which stick closest to those roots. At 29, she is coming late to the music business (she graduated from the University of Tennessee and worked as a rehabilitation therapist for a time), and is refreshingly realistic about her own limitations.
‘lt’s taken me a while to become comfortable with my voice, and I still think of myself as more an expresser of feelings. I only really started singing to give voice to my songwriting, and I wouldn’t claim to be an accomplished guitar player, either. What I’m offering, though, is the whole package - the voice and the music and the words.’ (Kenny Mathieson)
Deana Carter opens for Jimmy flail at the Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh on Mon 3, and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Tue 4.
noz_—~ Reluctat her
Tal Farlow’s career cannot be said to have followed the usual lines. Self- taught as a guitarist, he did not begin playing seriously until he was in his early 205, but he quickly established himself as the leading bebop- influenced exponent on his instrument, notably in the famous trio led by vibraphonist lied Horvo, which also included Charles Mingus.
Having done so, however, Farlow went into semi-retirement in the late 50s and fell back on his other main occupational interest, the craft of sign-painting. He was heard very infrequently in public for the next couple of decades, during which time his reputation — particularly among other guitarists - continued to grow rather than diminish.
Happily, he began to play rather more 5 often in the early 808, but he is still
E < 2 u < 2‘
Tal Farlow; guitar artistry not what you would call a regular visitor to Scotland, and the chance to hear him play in the intimate environment of the Tron Jazz Cellar makes it even more of a special occasion. He will be joined for the occasion by Ronnie Hae on bass and Tony Mclennan on drums.
The young Farlow acquired an extraordinary speed of execution, something which he puts down to having to keep up with Horvo’s fleet vibraphone lines, but the subtlety of his almost planistic hannonlc thinking is all his own. His improvisations are often a species of brinksmanship, in which he toys with melody and harmony in a way which verges on free playing, but without ever quite crossing that line. (Joe Alexander)
Tal Farlow plays at the Tron Jazz Cellar on Sun 2.
Im— Ween there, donethat
Wet ’n' weird: Dean (left) and Gene Ween
Craig McLean investigates the eclectic enigma that is Ween.
‘Hard work. a little bit of hustle and sheer determination were complete strangers to Ween and to this day remain the friends of someone they once knew.‘
The world according to Ween: their fourth, bizarrely brilliant album, Chocolate And Cheese. knows neither stylistic coherence nor logic. There‘s a single out just now. supposedly remixed by The Beastie Boys‘ Mike D. But the mix is a con and the single a trap — ‘Freedom Of ’76' is fly and funky. a cool tune to Trojan-Horse the listener into an album that‘s out to confuse and derange. Chocolate And Cheese is Mission lmplausible, and Ween are inspired chameleons, mavericks. bozos and bohos.
Over to Gene Ween. What about the crushing pathos and love-hate trauma of ‘Baby Bitch"? Are Ween angst— wracked balladeers? ‘We are. Do we have a catalogue of heartache? Absolutely —- there‘s nothing like a horrible. gut-wrenching song every now and then.‘
Are Ween sick (re: ‘Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)')? ‘Yeah. But we‘re scared of spinal meningitis. We came up with the drum track first and it's really spiny.‘ Eh?
Are Ween cigar-chewing bandits on the run (re: the spaghetti western mirth of ‘Buenos Tardes Amigo‘)? ‘Yeah. actually I’m growing a beard just now, although there's not many cactuses here in New Jersey. But there's deﬁnitely something very inspiring about the Mexican culture.’
Are Ween bonkers? You've a song. ‘Mister. Would You Please Help My Pony', about a dying horse coughing up snot in the driveway. ‘We're bonkers. Everybody’s bonkers. We weren‘t trying to be bonkers when we wrote it. “Pony” is the best song we ever wrote. lfwe get funny or we get twisted, it’s
just because we‘re. like. fucked-up. We try to be genuine.‘
Weezer. They Might Be Giants and The Flying Pickets. take note.
Ween play The Cat/rouse. Glasgow on Wed 29.
34 The List 24 Mar-6 Apr 1995